Middlesex duo Eskinazi and Finn are confident youngsters can step up
- Credit: PA
A new conference system and promising young talent leaves Middlesex believing they can challenge the "best sides in the country" in the newly-structured red-ball competition.
Rather than the traditional two-division format, the County Championship has been divided into three groups of six for the initial group stage of the competition, with ten four-day matches between April and July.
The top two counties in each group will then progress into Division One to compete to be crowned county champions. In addition, the champions will face the runners-up for the Bob Willis Trophy while the remaining 12 teams will be split between Division’s Two and Three.
Despite being a Division Two side under the old structure, Middlesex can, therefore, compete for the County Championship title - a trophy they haven’t won sine 2016.
Captain Stephen Eskinazi said: "There’s no feeling with us that we’re a Division Two side and one of the great things about this competition is that we can go out and prove that without having to win for a year to get into that competition.
“Day to day our cricket will stay the same; the way we play we know we can mix it with the best sides in the country.”
He said he knows the youngsters are ready to step up.
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“These young guys are phenomenal talented and not just talented, they’ve gone out and effected performances, so we have a great group of maturity from these youngsters and they’re hungry to not play games but make a really big impact," he said.
Fellow experienced Middlesex star Steven Finn is confident the young squad can shine after captaining them in the T20 last season.
“I really enjoyed it. Both Ezky and I, who captained the club in different formats last year, enjoyed being able to get out there with younger guys.
“Guys in their teens which make me feel incredibly old, but to have them coming in, and almost as a club decide that 2020 was going to be used as a year to develop players and we saw a number of young players come through and really show signs that they have a future in first-team cricket.
“I think that was a really important message to send for us as a club moving forward to try making us a better team.
“For me to captain those guys, try to help them, and trying to help them learn on the job and from their own mistakes but also as an older guy that has been around for a long time you do try to use your experiences to try guiding them down the right path.”