New contract gives Middlesex youngster greater confidence
His home County Championship debut may not have been particularly memorable, but Gurjit Sandhu can expect many more opportunities to bowl at Lord’s in future.
The left-arm seamer, who was drafted into Middlesex’s four-day team for only the second time, returned modest figures of no wickets for 61 runs in their rain-affected draw with Nottinghamshire last week.
However, Sandhu – who missed the early part of the summer due to a hamstring injury – has high hopes of repeating his Lord’s experience next season after signing a new two-year contract with the county.
“It was good to sign a contract – it gives me belief that the club believe in me 100 per cent. That means when I’m out there I don’t doubt myself,” the 21-year-old told london24.com.
“Obviously I would have liked to take more wickets [against Notts], but it was good experience. Every kid dreams of playing at Lord’s and I think we’re quite lucky that we get to play our home games there.
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“Hopefully I can go away this winter and get really strong and, touch wood, not get injured at the start of next season. I probably would have played more games had I not got injured at the time I did.
“But that’s cricket and sport in general – you’ve got to take the good times with the bad. There have been some opportunities this year and I think there’ll be more next year.”
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Sandhu, who emerged through Middlesex’s academy, first featured in their senior one-day side last season and took 3-28 in a 40-over game against Essex.
But the hamstring problem, sustained in a friendly against Cambridge University at the end of April, has restricted him to a handful of t20 appearances and a four-day match against Sussex prior to his recent run-out at Lord’s.
Despite the fierce competition for bowling places at Middlesex, Sandhu is quite happy to be fighting for recognition alongside far more seasoned players.
“Our seam attack’s one of the best in the country and that’s been proven all year – we’ve almost got full bowling points,” he added. “It’s definitely a good thing for us younger guys to be able to learn from the more experienced players. Corey Collymore’s played quite a bit in the second team and he’s helped me out a lot.
“Tim Murtagh, especially, is one of the best guys in the team for helping you at any time and [bowling coach] Richard Johnson has helped a lot in my development as well.
“It’s been good to get a go in all three forms of the game and obviously I want to become more versatile and hopefully carry on playing more in all of them next year.”
Spinner Ravi Patel has agreed a three-year contract to stay with Middlesex, while fellow left-armer Tom Smith is to join Gloucestershire on a permanent basis next season.