Cricket: Middlesex need 'Aussie mongrel mentality' says Law
PUBLISHED: 08:43 27 June 2019 | UPDATED: 08:43 27 June 2019
Middlesex must cultivate an 'Aussie mongrel' mentality if they are to realise their potential in the second half of the season, according to head coach Stuart Law.
The former Australia batsman has been in charge for almost six months now, overseeing just one win from their first seven Specsavers County Championship games.
While Law has been encouraged by recent performances, his assessment is that the team's under-achievement in Division Two so far stems from deficiencies in mindset rather than talent.
"I've been here long enough to see where we need an attitude change rather than a technical change," said Law, who left his role as West Indies coach to join Middlesex.
"Whether that means a change of personnel is another story, but I don't think that's the case in most areas. I've said to the guys above me we need to find some Aussie mongrel - someone to stand up and fight in all conditions.
"I'm not worried about someone who looks really good, I want someone who's willing to tough it out and help the team.
"That's what myself and (assistant coach) Nic Pothas are trying to instil, to get that mindset into them and that's all it is - an attitude.
"Right now we deserve to be where we are, we haven't played consistently well enough. But there's a lot of cricket still to be played, a lot of points on offer and we are seeing signs of that upward curve."
Middlesex remain some way off the promotion places after having to settle for a draw in their most recent, rain-affected outing against Glamorgan.
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But Law identified glimpses of improvement from the batting unit, who topped 400 for the first time this season with two players - Sam Robson and Paul Stirling - hitting hundreds.
"We've had some tame dismissals, gifting our wickets at times and you can't afford to do that," observed the 50-year-old.
"As a group, we haven't been good enough. Until the last game, we'd had two centuries in the Championship, scored by one player - our captain Dawid Malan, who's played very well so far this summer. That's not enough.
"The wickets have been good. The exceptional way both Robson and Stirling played, on a wicket that had a bit in it, was exactly what we've been crying out for.
"There were pleasing signs, with batsmen standing up, puffing their chests out, having some presence at the crease and digging in to score runs, which has been lacking in the first innings."
Law is also doing his best to convey a message about mental approach to his pace bowlers, having adopted a rotation policy for both four-day and one-day cricket.
Toby Roland-Jones, Steven Finn and Tom Helm have all suffered long-term injuries in recent years, while leading wicket-taker Tim Murtagh has been balancing the county schedule with Ireland commitments.
"We've got to get away from the idea that you pick a team and that's the team until someone gets hurt," added Law. "If we can have a couple of bowlers fresh for every Championship game, it'll do us more good than harm.
"At first the players didn't understand it, but I think they're becoming more and more open to the idea and realise that not playing doesn't mean they've been dropped.
"What it means is we're giving them a rest to regenerate and come back for the game after next. Players who go through injuries have a horrific time and you want to limit that as much as possible."