The partnership between the insurance company and Marcus runs for the duration of the 2013 season and includes giving fans the opportunity to win an expert masterclass with the cricketer at Lords.
He says, ‘I’m delighted to be an Ambassador for Friends Life who have a long standing association with cricket, and over the past few years have become an integral part of the domestic t20 competition. I look forward to working with them during a very exciting season in English cricket.’
Friends Life announced they would not title sponsor the domestic t20 competition in 2014, meaning the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are on the hunt for a new sponsor.
The experience and expertise Marcus has developed over his cricketing career are a great fit with Friends Life’s values. He shared his thoughts with Friends For Life in an interview on what makes a successful t20 player, his t20 dream team and this summer’s Ashes predictions:
-What key considerations do players and coaches factor into their mental and physical preparation for the Friends Life t20 season?
We try and factor different shots when preparing for the Friends Life t20 season. The focus of our practice also changes. We work on areas where we can hit the ball to get value for shots.
-How does match preparation for the Friends Life t20 format compare to the longer forms of the game?
In the nets we practice hitting the ball in all parts of the ground. Trying to visualise where you want to hit the ball in the game helps. Obviously you wouldn’t leave too many deliveries alone.
-How easy is it for players to adjust their game for the Friends Life t20 season?
It’s relatively easy for players to adjust their game. Players practice with white balls most weeks so that isn’t a concern. The focus is mainly on tactics and shot selection.
-As a batsman, what are the main adjustments you have to make to be successful at t20?
I think you have to back yourself to make things happen by playing big shots. It’s important to try and lose the fear of getting out.
-How does batting in a power play impact your decision making and strategy?
You have to be positive straight away. Your job at the top of the order is to utilise the first six overs of fielding restrictions. The game plan is to be positive to try and clear the infield to create a good base for the innings.
-When batting, how does your mindset change when facing a spinner as opposed to a fast bowler in t20?
When you are facing spinners, your mindset doesn’t change a great deal. You still pick your scoring areas and zones and focus on keeping the score board ticking over.
-What are the key characteristics that constitute a t20 specialist?
A positive and aggressive manner.
-Which opposition bowler do you find the toughest to face in t20 cricket?
Sri Lanka opening bowler and t20 specialist Lasith Malinga.
-Who is the most destructive t20 batsman you have seen?
My Somerset teammate and England international Jos Buttler.
-Who do you regard as the key players to watch out for during this season’s t20 campaign?
The up-and-coming England boys Jos Buttler, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow are the players to look out for in this year’s Friends Life t20.
-Which sides in this year’s Friends Life t20 campaign do you feel are most capable of winning the trophy?
Somerset of course!
-Who would you select in your all time t20 XI team?
In my world XI I would have opening up Chris Gayle, Shane Watson. The middle order would feature AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler. Indian captain MS Dhoni would wicket keep and I would have a bowling quartet of Dale Steyn, Sunil Narine, Lasith Malinga and Saeed Ajmal.
-What is your prediction for the Ashes this summer?
I fancy England’s chances so I’m going to go England to win 3-1.
-Who will be England’s leading run scorer in the Ashes?
England captain Alastair Cook.
-Who will be England’s leading wicket taker in the Ashes?
I think Graeme Swann will cause Australia a lot of trouble this summer.