Keeping fast bowlers fit is the key, says Middlesex coach
Coach Richard Scott says Middlesex must maintain a clean bill of health in the pace department if they are to cope with international call-ups.
Middlesex’s seam attack has varied in recent weeks, with Steven Finn currently on Test duty, Toby Roland-Jones missing the Warwickshire game to play for England Lions and James Harris suffering a hamstring strain.
Harris – who has also been on the fringes of the England one-day set-up – returned to the side that crushed Somerset at Taunton to reclaim top spot in the County Championship last week.
But Middlesex are now without leading wicket-taker Tim Murtagh, who is part of the Ireland squad for their one-day international series against Pakistan.
“The statistics suggest that Tim Murtagh’s been the stand-out bowler and you’re always going to miss someone like him,” Scott told london24.com.
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“He’s been performing year in, year out and he’s got 30 Championship wickets already this season – but he can’t do it on his own.
“Corey Collymore has come in and bowled really well, and it’s good to have James [Harris] back. He’s getting better with every performance and I’m sure by doing that he’ll chuck his hat into the England ring.
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“We’ve got a plan as a bowling unit, but we have to manage their workloads carefully. One or two have had niggles and we could do with them staying fit and healthy over the next couple of months.”
Although Middlesex - who are currently up against Durham at the Riverside - have performed well in the County Championship so far this season, their prospects in the Yorkshire Bank 40 competition already look gloomy.
A six-wicket defeat by Somerset left the Panthers with just one point from their opening three matches in Group C and Scott admitted that his side cannot afford to lose when they face Yorkshire Vikings on Bank Holiday Monday in their first ever senior game at Radlett (1.45pm start).
“We were really off the pace in our first game against Glamorgan and, although we were going well at Somerset, we probably needed in excess of 275 because of the strength of their batting line-up,” he added.
“We’re keen to put it right at Radlett – we don’t want this losing streak to go on. We’ve got to turn the tide immediately, otherwise we’ll be staring down the barrel in this competition.
“The club has invested a lot at Radlett and the players enjoy training there – it’s become like a second home and we’re looking forward to playing a competitive game there for the first time.”