Sweet and sour in Southgate win
By Chris Silverwood WE finally got off the mark in the Twenty20 against Hampshire at Southgate on Monday. It was also a shortened game – 12 overs – because of the weather but all credit to the players. It was hard work. Chad Keegan took three wickets and
By Chris Silverwood
WE finally got off the mark in the Twenty20 against Hampshire at Southgate on Monday. It was also a shortened game - 12 overs - because of the weather but all credit to the players.
It was hard work. Chad Keegan took three wickets and was the pick of the bowlers. The win sets up us nicely for the next batch of games.
The only downside on Monday was when our players returned to the dressing room they found that thieves had broken in and stolen many personal belongings. It was bizarre and a great shame.
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Southgate is a lovely little club and Middlesex have enjoyed a good relationship with them. It was a case of the minority spoiling it for the majority.
We now play Hampshire under floodlights tonight. They seem to be messing about with their batting line-up. But whoever they play it is going to be tough for us. However, they are not unbeatable - with or without Shane Warne.
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We all know what an ultra-competitive bloke Warney is. It will be great for us if he does not play. As long as Warney has a ball or bat in his hand he will be competitive.
The general rule of thumb for playing under floodlights is that the team batting second has usually found it harder to win. So if you win the toss the rule is to bat first. But much depends on the weather - there have been so many games rained off already, including Wednesday's game with Kent.
The hardest thing for players playing under floodlights is not batting or bowling but fielding - especially in the deep when the ball goes up in the air.
We have a run of home games next week with a couple of sell-out fixtures at Lord's. We start against Surrey again on Tuesday and the atmosphere is bound to be electric.
However, the players will I'm sure feed off the fact that they are playing in front of a capacity crowd at the home of cricket. Lord's is a great place to play even when there is nobody there. But in front of 22,000 it will be fantastic.
Obviously, it was disappointing to start the Twenty20 with a loss at The Oval on Friday. I felt the boys deserved a bit better than what they got. However, it was good to see Jamie Dalrymple in the runs and it will give him confidence. People say he has a point to prove after being left out of the England one-day squad but I don't think that's the case.
He knows he is good enough to be there in the first place. JD just has to forget about it and put in some top performances for Middlesex. The same applies to Andrew Strauss and Ed Joyce, who were also omitted. I feel they were unlucky but the good news for us is that we have them back in our team.
And it will be great to have Straussy back with us. He brings a lot more than his batting to the table. He has vast experience and now has a chance to hit some big scores.
As regards Ed some people might feeling he is in a sort of cricketing limbo. But I can't see him getting down about it. Ed is mentally strong. He knows he just has to knuckle down and put some runs on the board for Middlesex.
However, in a way international selection is a double-edged sword. The club loves it when players are selected for England but they are also delighted when they are available to play for the club.
Owais Shah has been included and I'm delighted. We all know what a good player he is but I just hope he gets a chance to show what he can do. What Ace really needs is a run of games. Whether he gets it is another thing.
At the start of the season we knew we needed to bolster the bowling and the club has. Now with the England boys back in the with fold we have the all-round strength in depth to bowl teams out twice.