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Middlesex youngster enjoys pressure of Twenty20 death bowling

07:12 10 July 2014

Harry Podmore

Harry Podmore

SARAH WILLIAMS

Teenage paceman Harry Podmore is relishing the pressure that comes with ‘death’ bowling after forcing his way into Middlesex’s Twenty20 side.

The 19-year-old seamer has featured in each of the Panthers’ last four games in the NatWest T20 Blast, and was also entrusted with the task of sending down the crucial final over when they met Glamorgan last week.

And, although Podmore has been unable to stem Middlesex’s miserable run of results in the competition, he is thoroughly enjoying the challenge presented by his role.

“This is what you live for, what you dream of as a kid when you first start playing,” said Podmore. “It’s no fun when you’re bowling and you know you can relax!

“Those are the sort of situations that make or break you and I do enjoy them, even if unfortunately it doesn’t come off. I got my chance, I feel I’ve done ok so far and I want to make sure I stay in the team by putting in performances.

“I reckon there’s a lot more pressure on you when the team are winning lots of games. But just to be involved is something special, whether we’re winning or not winning, and either way you’ll take it.

“It’s what we slave away for at Finchley [indoor school] in the winter – you want to be in the first team. A few good games can get you a bit further and then you never know what can happen.”

Middlesex’s decision to keep first-choice seamers such as Steven Finn and Toby Roland-Jones fresh for their County Championship programme has helped to open the door for the likes of Podmore and left-armer Gurjit Sandhu.

So far, Podmore’s best performance came in the abandoned T20 Blast game against Gloucestershire at Lord’s, when he recorded figures of 3-13 from his four overs.

Although the teenager accepts the prospects of a four-day debut any time in the near future may be remote, he is hopeful of featuring when the new 50-over Royal London Cup gets under way later this month.

“My ambition’s to appear in all forms of the game,” he said. “At the moment our Championship side are doing so well that I’ll just have to bide my time.

“But with the one-day tournament, there’s a lot of cricket in a short space of time, and that’s when youngsters can try and step up and show what they can do.

“We’ve got a lot of depth in our squad and to play 50-over cricket would mean just as much as playing four-day or Twenty20 cricket. What you’ve got to do, if you get the nod, is take your chance.”

And, should Podmore miss out when Middlesex begin their 50-over campaign, he will concentrate on continuing to develop his game with the help of the county’s coaches and senior bowlers.

“When you’re young, you’ve just got to learn,” he added. “I know Finny, Toby and Tim Murtagh haven’t been playing in these games because they’re focusing on the Championship, but you still learn from them.

“They’ve been there and done it, so you just listen to them and take every bit of advice you can.

“If it works for you, great – and, if it doesn’t, find a way that does. To have that sort of player around you is invaluable.

“You put the hard work in with [bowling coach] Richard Johnson, [academy director] Alan Coleman and even Gus [managing director of cricket Angus Fraser] shows his face sometimes.

“We’re so lucky at Middlesex to have an array of coaches that have played the game at different standards, and it’s all about learning from them any way you can.”

Middlesex are back in Twenty20 action on Friday against Hampshire at Southampton (7pm).

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