‘Playing in Division Two hampers our international prospects’

Tim Murtagh’s exclusive Middlesex column

With so much t20 cricket at the moment, it’d be easy to forget that we’re back in County Championship action in a few days’ time.

It seems a bit crazy to be going to Kent in the t20 on Saturday and then starting a four-day game against them back at Lord’s the next day, but that’s how the schedule is and we need to make sure we’re ready to go again.

Maybe the management will look at rotating some of the bowlers – Corey Collymore and Toby Roland-Jones, for instance, haven’t been involved much in the t20 games. For the batsmen it’s not such a massive deal, but I think by Sunday there will certainly be a few heavy bodies needing a rest!

It was a relief to finally pick up a t20 win against Sussex last week. I thought we bowled and fielded really well, but credit has to go to the batsmen too for the way they chased down the target.

We’ve had players getting good starts in quick time, but Chris Rogers batted exceptionally, giving us the injection of runs we needed at the top. So did Steven Crook, who was promoted to number three, and Scott Newman played very well at the end – you really need a mature head at that stage of the innings.

The Championship is, of course, a competition we’re very much involved in and it’d be good to get a result and put a bit of pressure on Northamptonshire at the top.

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We really want to get promoted this season – and I can’t help thinking that playing in Division Two probably hasn’t done some of us any favours when it comes to international selection.

Personally, I had a really good season a couple of years ago and felt that, if I had a chance of being picked for the England Lions tour, it would have happened then. But maybe if I’d taken the same number of wickets in Division One it would have made a difference.

I’ll be 30 in August, so it doesn’t look too likely that England will come calling now, but there’s been some talk recently about the possibility of representing Ireland, who I could qualify for through my grandparents.

I have to say it would be a very tempting opportunity if it did come up and I would relish the chance to play international cricket, but at the moment it’s in the hands of Cricket Ireland and we’ll have to see what happens.

Talking of international players, I should just say well done to my Middlesex team-mate Andrew Strauss on his OBE, which is a great honour and something he’ll be very proud of.

He leads by example on the field and it’s also thoroughly deserved for the hard work that he puts in behind the scenes with the England coach Andy Flower.

We certainly won’t be treating him any differently, though – I believe he’s available when we’re playing at Uxbridge quite soon and I’m sure there’ll be a fair amount of mickey-taking. From Buckingham Palace to Uxbridge might be a bit of a comedown!