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County Championship: Middlesex captain James Franklin knows there is more to come in Division One ahead of trip to Lancashire

PUBLISHED: 10:00 08 June 2017

Middlesex batsman Nick Gubbins (left) receives his county cap from the legendary Sachin Tendulkar (pic: MBP Sports Media)

Middlesex batsman Nick Gubbins (left) receives his county cap from the legendary Sachin Tendulkar (pic: MBP Sports Media)

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New Zealander admits Middlesex have been slow to get their title defence going

Middlesex skipper James Franklin says his side need to start showing their mettle as they look open their Specsavers County Championship win account in Friday’s clash with Division One rivals Lancashire in Southport.

The Kiwi all-rounder, whose side have started their title defence by drawing all four of their red-ball games to date this season, said his is baffled as to why Middlesex are struggling to get over the win line.

“If I could put my finger on it I’d be telling my players for sure,” said the 36-year-old from Wellington. “It’s just one of those things, but we must remember that it is a marathon, it’s not a sprint, and we’ve still got 10 championship games to go and I’m hoping we’ll get one win and then build momentum.

“There’s no panic stations yet. Last year it took us six or seven games to get our first win, we’re only four games in for 2017, and things can change a lot within a month. We’re not playing badly, we’re just not quite firing on all cylinders.”

Middlesex will be without overseas batsman Adam Voges who tore his calf during the home draw with Somerset earlier this week, but Franklin hopes to welcome back Sam Robson in his stead. Pace bowler James Harris, whose loan spell at Kent has been ended, may also feature in the squad.

“I’m reasonably worried about Adam’s injury, I don’t think there’s a lot of hope for him being fit in the next couple of weeks,” added Franklin. “We’re really hopeful for Sam though.

“He’s been playing 2nd XI cricket, his rehab has gone really well. He’s back running and hitting balls, it’s just a question now of see how he pulls up after playing again. “I’ve not played at Southport personally, but we’ll look closely at the past couple of first-class games played there and check the stats before working out the make-up of the squad we want to take up.”

Franklin was also instrumental this week in creating a memorable moment for young team-mate Nick Gubbins, who was handed his embroidered Middlesex cap by India batting legend Sachin Tendulkar during an impromptu presentation on the Lord’s outfield on Monday morning.

“I’m told the Gus Fraser and James both played a part setting it up,” said a delighted Gubbins. “James was at Mumbai Indians with Sachin and saw him at Lord’s, just visiting the ground with his son, and he and Gus asked if he’d be kind enough to come and present my cap.

“I’d no idea what was happening until I suddenly saw Sachin amongst this group of guys on the outfield and he was holding a cap with my name on it. It was a really special moment.

“For it to be Sachin was incredible. He also came into our team huddle after the warm-ups and gave me some words of wisdom. A few friends have already texted me to say they’re so jealous that I got to meet the great man.

“There are good times and bad times in cricket, but that was definitely one of those special morning’s that I’ll never forget.” (see attached pic please credit Middlesex CCC.)

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