Dubliner Joyce happy to lead Middlesex from the front
BY SIMON JACKSON MIDDLESEX vice-captain Ed Joyce is relishing his enhanced responsibilities as the Lord s outfit, currently third in the County Championship, continue to sparkle in the Twenty20 Cup. Joyce has led Middlesex in the past two matches of their unbeaten Twenty2
MIDDLESEX vice-captain Ed Joyce is relishing his enhanced responsibilities as the Lord's outfit, currently third in the County Championship, continue to sparkle in the Twenty20 Cup.
Joyce has led Middlesex in the past two matches of their unbeaten Twenty20 campaign and believes the vice-captaincy is further improving his vision of the game.
The 29-year-old Dubliner, who top scored with 47 runs in Monday's Twenty20 win over Surrey at Lord's, has continued his County Championship form and is in a positive mind frame as he looks to the future.
"I was basically vice-captain last year," said Joyce, who led the MCC in the traditional opener against champions Sussex at Lord's.
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"They didn't announce it [last season] but if Ed Smith went off I would do the job. We worked closely together anyway so it is nothing particularly different from last year.
"But it is obviously an honour to get any sort of a captaincy role with any county club, especially one like Middlesex.
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"I am always someone who looks at the game who tries to work out what will happen even if am not captain or vice-captain."
"If someone comes to you and asks your opinion you have got to have something to come back with. I just think it is in some people's nature to look at the game and see what they would have done next.
"Basically it is just myself and Ed and new coach Toby Radford who work together as a bit of a team to come up with the best strategy for games and for competitions."
Radford, the former Academy director and second team coach, took over the reins at the tail-end of last season after the departure of Richard Pybus and had an immediate impact as he guided the Lord's outfit to promotion in the Pro40.
And Joyce believes the new coach is uniquely placed to lead Middlesex to further success.
"Toby is a Middlesex man and knows the club quite well," added Joyce.
"It was a difficult situation Richard was in, in that we are tenants at Lord's and we don't have the training and practice facilities that he was used to. I think that was very difficult for him as he was used to a much better set-up in terms of that back in South Africa.
"I think Toby knows the club and knows the limitations of these things and he perhaps is better able to deal with it because he knows about them.
"Toby has also been around the lads and he knows all the guys, and he knows all the young guys coming up.
"He has had a lot to do with the younger players such as Steven Finn and Billy Godleman and he probably just knows the club a lot better and the players a lot better. He just seems to have got on with the job a lot better."
Joyce feels that Radford's emergence, along with a wealth of young talent and some new faces in the coaching staff, leaves Middlesex in a confident mood for their remaining fixtures in the Twenty20 and Championship.
"I would like to think this is the year we have all the bases covered," explained Joyce. "We have had all the excuses in the past and they may have been valid excuses but they were excuses nonetheless.
"But I think there are none of them this year and I think we have got pretty much everything right in the winter.
"We have a hard working backroom staff and it is very streamlined and we have a very good new fitness guy.
"We have a new physio and new coaches and everything seems to be there. We have a lot of experience in the batting and the bowling and we have some exciting young talent as well.
"So we really have everything in our favour. And if it doesn't happen this year there should be some very serious questions asked. But we are very confident it will because we have a good unit."