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Spin doctor appointment tests Goddleman's skills

PUBLISHED: 12:20 04 July 2007 | UPDATED: 14:35 07 September 2010

WHILE his team-mates were involved in the Twenty20 competition, Middlesex's rising young star Billy Godleman was this week furthering his cricketing education at the ECB'S Spin Event at the National Cricket Performance Centre.

By Pat Mooney

WHILE his team-mates were involved in the Twenty20 competition, Middlesex's rising young star Billy Godleman was this week furthering his cricketing education at the ECB'S Spin Event at the National Cricket Performance Centre.

The former Hampstead colts player was one of eight young batsmen selected to face the cream of the country's young spinners in match-based scenarios.

His was watched by the expert eyes of ECB spin bowling coach David Parsons, the injured England and Warwickshire spin bowler Ashley Giles as well as ex-England spinners John Childs and Jack Birkenshaw.

"It was great to have the opportunity to learn more about that facet of the game," Godleman told Wood&Vale Sport.

"I got a phone call three or four days beforehand saying I had been selected as one of the batsmen for the event. It is not often you have the chance to concentrate 100 per cent on spin bowling.

"We had three solid days of it and I learned a lot testing myself against top young spinners."

Godleman had not been selected for Middlesex's opening two Twenty20 matches and is unsure if he will be picked for the next batch of matches which start against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl tonight.

"That's up to the coach Richard Pybus and the captain Ed Smith," he said. "I played some Twenty20 matches last season and enjoyed them. But if I'm picked I will be ready."

Indeed, Godleman has been more than ready for Middlesex whatever the format this season.

The left-handed opener, who was the youngest man ever to play first-class cricket for Middlesex when he made his debut against Cambridge in 2005, announced his arrival in Smith's team with a superb 113 not out against Somerset on his County Championship debut back in April.

And the 18-year-old has continued to win rave reviews for his mature batting.

He has scored well over 500 runs to date, the latest being an excellent half-century in Middlesex's second innings against Essex in the drawn County Championship match at Lord's last week.

"I'm delighted with the way things have started for me this season," said Godleman. "I've done reasonably well but we've only played seven or eight games so far. I was not sure how many chances I would get in the first team this season. I went on our pre-season tour to Australia - it was my second pre-season tour - and there was some talk of possible plans for me.

"I then had some good scores in our pre-season matches and carried that into the County Championship. But my main objective is to take each ball as it comes and work from there."

In the first half of the season, Godleman struck up a productive opening partnership with Nick Compton, the grandson of Denis, who played cricket and football for England.

"I would love it if Nick and I continued what we've started," he said. "Nick is one of my better mates in the first team and we have known each other for a long time. He is a pretty similar character to me on the field."

Godleman, who turns out for Brondesbury in the Middlesex County League when Middlesex duties permit, has long-term dreams of playing for England.

He has already represented England at under-19 level and and has the ICC under-19 World Cup in Malaysia next February to look forward to.

"My ultimate ambition is to play for England on a regular basis," he said.

"But one step at a time. I just want to keep level-headed and cement my place in the Middlesex team."

pat.mooney@hamhigh.co.uk


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