Roland-Jones aims to lead Middlesex charge towards County Championship summit
Toby Roland-Jones wants to maintain a clean bill of health for the rest of the season and spearhead Middlesex’s push for the County Championship title.
The England Lions seamer recently returned to Middlesex’s first team for the first time in a month, having been kept out of action by an ankle injury.
And, having impressed in the Panthers’ three YB40 games during the past week,Roland-Jones is now aiming to push for a recall to the four-day side.
Middlesex currently sit third in the County Championship table, 14 points behind leaders Yorkshire, and they travel to bottom side Derbyshire in their next game, which starts on Tuesday.
“I had a good game in midweek for the second XI and I was quite happy with the way it was coming out, so it’s nice to transfer that into the first team and get a few wickets,” Roland-Jones told london24.com.
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“I’m happy now that I’ve come back and fitted into a nice rhythm and staked a claim for a place in the team at Derby.
“If I can get a clear run to the end of the season, I’d be delighted. It’d be nice to hold down a regular spot again and start getting among the wickets once more.
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“Hopefully that’ll also culminate with a decent title push. We seem to have found a bit of form, with a couple of wins under our belts, and we’d hope to go to Derby and be pretty competitive again.
“If we get a couple more results, we’ll really be up there and that’s exciting. It’s where you want to be coming into this stage of the season.”
The 25-year-old enjoyed a highly productive season in 2012, finishing as Middlesex’s leading wicket-taker in the County Championship to earn a call-up to the England Performance squad that toured India.
This year, his pickings have proved to be more modest – although he has taken 19 County Championship wickets and advanced his YB40 tally to 17 during the three games since his comeback..
“For large periods of that winter, there were times when I wasn’t available to play because I was rehabbing with my knee,” added Roland-Jones. “So it wasn’t as intense a winter as it could have been.
“But perhaps not having that extended break I’d been used to did play a part. I’d been playing through the injury that ended up putting me out and I think it was just a culmination of that.
“It was a pretty frustrating time but, as a fast bowler, these are things you have to deal with. Hopefully now I’ll be fully fit for an interesting finish to the season.”
Middlesex must concentrate all their efforts on the County Championship after Wednesday’s 11-run defeat by Glamorgan in Cardiff all but mathematically ended their hopes of progressing to the YB40 semi-finals.
However, they bounced back in their next Group C match just 24 hours later, defeating Gloucestershire by 19 runs (Duckworth/Lewis method) at Lord’s.
Dawid Malan struck an unbeaten 113 as the Panthers posted 206-5 from 38 overs and then restricted the visitors to 186-9 in reply, with James Harris taking 3-30.