Cricket: Eskinazi happy to help Middlesex however he can
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Stevie Eskinazi is more than happy to be the ‘Mr Flexible’ of Middlesex’s top order.
The Seaxes' right-hander appeared to have carved a niche for himself at number three, but injuries and other absences saw him moved to the middle-order last month.
And it was all change again this week when the 25-year-old was pressed into service as an opener for the rain-affected draw with Glamorgan at Radlett - this despite Nick Gubbins, who batted at three, being far more familiar with the role right at the top of the order.
Eskinazi though says players can't get precious about a particular batting spot and wherever they slot in it's about doing the basics well.
"It has been a bit of yo-yo stuff with my batting position, but you have to be a team man," he said.
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"There's no place, especially in our dressing-room, for people who have egos, or selfish people because you get found out quite quickly, and realistically it is a red ball coming down from 22 yards at three wooden sticks.
"Whether you are batting one or eleven the fundamentals are basically the same. I'd settled into a role at three, but the game changes and you have to be adaptable as someone who wants to bat in the top order in red ball cricket."
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Eskinazi's willingness to chop and change is all the more commendable given he's found red-ball runs hard to come by so far this season, averaging just 20 over 12 innings and passing 50 only once.
"My form has been a little bit indifferent," he admitted.
"I feel like it has been difficult to find rhythm as a batter in general this year as you tend to give that first month to the bowlers because of the conditions.
"Then, when you've pencilled in your mind that you might be able to get some rhythm in this block of games, the rain has played its part and we haven't quite got out there.
"I'm still feeling reasonably positive about the way I'm playing and pretty confident there will be a decent score around the corner."
As if the bread and butter of scoring runs in bowler-friendly conditions while zipping up and down the order wasn't tough enough, Eskinazi has also stood in as captain in both the 50-over and four-day formats in recent weeks.
He confesses to having much to learn about the role, but says it has been a privilege to be part of the bigger picture thinking and quite liberating too, taking him away from any excessive introspection over his personal form.
"Leading is something I enjoy doing, but it takes a little time to learn the ins and outs of it," he added.
"It's been really exciting for me to be involved in all the tactical conversations. As a slip fielder and normal batter, you're always wondering and you've your own opinions on the game, but having active discussions with guys like 'Murts' (Tim Murtagh) and Toby (Roland-Jones) or senior batters like Sam (Robson) who've played Test cricket is something I enjoy.
"Putting in my two cents worth and knowing some of my opinions on the game were actually listened to was quite an exciting thing for me.
"I was learning every day out there and you start to take the team's performance personally, which is quite a good thing for my game.
"Especially in the 50-over stuff, I wasn't really worried about where my front foot was going, or if my head was going to mid-on because I was thinking about how are we going to win this game of cricket."