In our stars of ECL series we look at Danish dynamo Michael Pedersen.

European Cricket Family - Q & A: Michael Pedersen – captain of Denmark champions Skanderborg

A former MCC Young Cricketer, Michael Pedersen started playing cricket aged seven, progressing through the youth ranks to represent Denmark at all age groups. A stylish left-hand bat and right-arm off break bowler, Michael assumed the Denmark captaincy in 2011. Michael has been a Skanderborg stalwart for many years and accordingly is the respected club captain of the “Stingrays.”

Denmark’s T20 champions, Skanderborg’s European Cricket League title hopes were shattered following the postponement of ECL20 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

How much of a disappointment was the postponement of ECL20?

A big disappointment, but understandable given the current situation. Adding to the disappointment is that we had arranged for my wife and son as well as some other family to come along to combine ECL20 with a bit of holiday. So not going is obviously very unlucky for everyone. Hopefully, we will get a chance to do it next year at ECL21.

What’s your take on the recent ECL21 qualification announcement?

I think it is fair to everyone involved. Things will be decided on the pitch, and the teams that worked hard to become the 2019 national champions and qualified for ECL will have a chance to compete after all. Obviously without being certain of a spot in the competition, but a good chance of getting there.

How has your life changed since covid19 crisis?

Going from working in an office to working full-time on my own from home has been a big change. Besides that, just being a lot more careful and considerate with everything we do has been a big change, I guess. It has been a bit odd not being able to be close to people other than your own family.

What’s the toughest part of the current covid19 crisis for you?

I am managing an analysis department in the energy sector, where my normal workday would mostly be filled with interaction with other people. So having to try and work remotely while also taking care of my one-year old son who has been home from daycare has been a real challenge!

Positively, what is the best part? If any?!

Although, it has been hectic both working and taking care of my son at the same time, the extra family time that we have had has been priceless. It has been a great reminder of how important and valuable it is to be together and spend time enjoying life as a small family.

Who or what is your greatest inspiration at this time?

I have a lot of respect and admiration for all the people in the “front line”. Doctors, nurses etc. who go to work to literally save lives on a day-to-day basis and working long hours. Adding to that, the decision and policy makers have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders at the moment, which must be tough conditions to work under. I can only imagine how stressful it must be to try and balance everything and still make big decisions.

What do you do more of these days? And less?

I have been doing quite a lot of running to keep myself going. Working from home, gyms being closed, and the cricket season postponed has forced me to get going to ensure that I do not completely stop moving. Besides that, the weather has been brilliant, so I have tried to keep up with the gardening needed as a house owner (and we hardly have anything but a lawn!)

What would be your dream FIRST game back after the fight has been won against covid19?

Any home game with the ground in top condition and the sun shining all day. Obviously winning the toss and batting first as well.

What was the highlight of your cricketing career?

I have always enjoyed the great team moments that I have been fortunate to experience e.g. when winning tournaments. Those are special when you have worked so hard together and then topping it with the title, trophy, promotion or the like.

At a personal level, my 121 against The Netherlands in the World Cup qualifier in 2009 stands out as a day to remember (although in a losing cause).

Who is the best bowler you've faced?

I could name a fair few, but since I probably only ended facing a few balls from them before they got me out, it would be harsh on the others to single anyone out. However, I am pretty sure it would be a pace bowler opening the bowling on an early season green top – there has been a fair few of them!

The fastest bowler you've faced?

In my teens, I remember facing Mark Footitt in a game against an England youth side. He has probably ended up increasing his pace later in his career, but at the time, I had never faced pace anywhere near that. Later in my career, facing Hamid Hassan was also an interesting experience.

And the best spinner faced?

James Tredwell stands out for me for his control. We played Kent in a three-day game, and he must have bowled 20-odd maidens in a day in our innings (with me facing half of them).

Who is the best batsman you've played with?

I have been lucky enough to play with a fair few who are great batters and have done really well at the highest level. In terms of “ease on the eye” I will go for Dawid Malan, for natural ability Mohammad Nabi, and mental toughness Dean Elgar. All of them are great to watch in action in their own way.

And against?

During my youth years, we played a lot against the other European nations at various age groups. When playing against Ireland, we had the (unfortunate) pleasure of playing against Eoin Morgan. Already back then, he was destructive and a different class to the rest of us. I honestly think that he scored a hundred every time that we played them!

On one of my first tours with the Danish national side, we played an Essex XI including two youngsters at the time - Alistair Cook and Ravi Bopara. They were unbelievable to watch, and it hasn’t been any surprise at all to see them go on and do so well as they have.