Former West Indies bowler happy to mentor future Middlesex stars
Corey Collymore is eager to bring through the next generation of Middlesex pacemen – even though it may cost him a place in the team.
The former West Indies fast bowler made his first County Championship appearance of the season in last week’s draw with Surrey, replacing the injured James Harris.
With Toby Roland-Jones playing for the England Lions side against New Zealand on Thursday and Steven Finn preparing for the senior side’s Test series, there will be further gaps to plug in Middlesex’s seam attack during the coming weeks.
While Collymore is keen to play, he is also enjoying his role as mentor to the county’s younger bowlers such as Gurjit Sandhu, Ollie Wilkin, Harry Podmore and Tom Helm.
The 35-year-old has captained Middlesex’s second XI in recent weeks and, although Sandhu and Wilkin are currently out injured, he has seen enough to predict a bright future for the county’s pace department.
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“Middlesex have what I would call an international bowling attack – Harris, Finn, Roland-Jones and Tim Murtagh, who’s played a few games for Ireland,” Collymore told london24.com.
“Three of them are under 25 years old and when you’ve got that sort of attack, plus Gareth Berg and the club captain Neil Dexter, we’re in a really good position in terms of a fast bowling unit.
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“But when this present crop of bowlers have to go off on international duties or gets injured, we all have to make sure we’re ready to fill those positions – whether it’s myself or one of the younger guys.
“We have three or four good youngsters. I’m sure that during this year you’ll see some good performances from them in the second team and hopefully they’ll at least play some one-day cricket for the first team.
“The boys are doing well and I think the fast bowling department at Middlesex is in very good hands.”
Collymore, who represented the West Indies in 30 Tests and 84 one-day internationals, came into cricket at a time when the Caribbean was still renowned as a hotbed of talented fast bowlers.
And, having learned his trade from international stars such as Courtney Walsh and Curtley Ambrose, he feels a duty to help younger bowlers at Middlesex make their way in the sport.
“Richard Johnson, who coaches the second team, asked me if I wanted to captain the side,” added Collymore. “It’s not something I had to do but I think there’s a responsibility towards the younger generation.
“When I started playing for Barbados there were people like Vasbert Drakes and when I began playing for the West Indies, Ambrose and Walsh were still involved.
“All of us are still good friends today and I can contact them and get advice from them. Because I had that sort of upbringing, I feel it’s my responsibility to pass on some knowledge.
“If you love the game, you want to play against the top players and show that you’ve got something left in you and one of my goals is to be ready when one of the top bowlers is not available or injured.
“But I think it’s also one of my major roles to try to bring on the younger brigade, to help them move forward and step up. The squad is very close-knit at Middlesex and I relish the challenge.”
Sam Robson hit his second century in successive matches as Middlesex reached 280-3 on the opening day of their County Championship match against champions Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
Robson, who struck 129 against Surrey last week, will resume on 136 not out on Thursday.