Middlesex bowler keen to play his part in County Championship title push

Harry Podmore in T20 action for Middlesex

Harry Podmore in T20 action for Middlesex - Credit: Archant

Harry Podmore says the success of his contemporaries at Middlesex this season has helped motivate him to make his mark in four-day cricket.

The 22-year-old seam bowler, who has featured regularly for the Lord’s side in white-ball fixtures over the past two years, had to wait until July to make his County Championship debut.

But, having played his part in a Middlesex victory over Somerset, he repeated the feat against Durham earlier this week – and he admits that watching his former second XI team-mates, batting pair Nick Gubbins and Steve Eskinazi, establish themselves in the senior side this year has increased the desire to prove his own worth in red-ball cricket.

“When you see your mates doing well it makes you hungry to do well too – and we’re a very tight squad anyway,” said Podmore.

“You’re out there with 10 of your best mates, all fighting for each other, whether it’s your mates from the first team or the 2s. We’re all very close and there’s a good feeling at the moment.

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“To be labelled as a Twenty20 bowler, sometimes it can go your way and sometimes it doesn’t – but I’ve focused quite hard on the red-ball stuff as well.

“Luckily I’ve been given a chance and it’s paid off, so I’m chuffed to bits and if I get picked again I’ll give it everything I’ve got. We’re improving day by day in the County Championship and another win can only bode well for us in the upcoming games.”

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Podmore has already claimed some impressive scalps in his fledgling County Championship career – his first wicket was that of ex-Middlesex captain Chris Rogers and he took seven in all during the win at Taunton.

He then dismissed former England star Paul Collingwood twice in the Durham match, contributing a tidy spell of 2-18 as Middlesex outplayed the visitors to triumph by an innings and 80 runs inside three days.

Centuries by Gubbins and Nick Compton laid the foundations for a first-innings advantage of 332 before Durham were bowled out for a second time, with off-spinner Ollie Rayner collecting nine wickets in the match.

“It’s unbelievable. I grew up watching Paul Collingwood play for England and to actually get him out twice in a match, you can’t ask for more!” added Podmore.

“I wasn’t given the ball in the first session and I came on in about the 40th over [of the second innings] so I was ready to prove that I could do it. When the skipper chucked me the ball I was hungrier than ever.”

Podmore is quick to credit James Franklin, who has stood in as captain while Adam Voges is away with Australia, along with the other senior seamers at Lord’s for helping him settle into the four-day side.

Tim Murtagh and Toby Roland-Jones are both long-established members of the Middlesex pace attack, while a third, Steven Finn, is currently out injured.

“To have the likes of Ro-Jo, Murts, Finny, James Harris and Frankie – who’s been bowling really well this year – around is unbelievable, to be honest,” said Podmore.

“You’ve got to enjoy every game you play with them, listen to them because they’ve been there and done it and try to take their advice into your own game.

“You can’t get better than that experience and that’s the case in life as well. To have Toby and Frankie at mid-on and mid-off against Durham, talking me through it, all helped.”

Finn, who tore a hamstring on Test duty for England recently, is unlikely to be available for at least the next two games, while James Fuller is still recovering from a side strain.

However, Fuller could be fit again when Middlesex – who have now opened up a 26-point lead at the top of Division One – return to action, against Warwickshire at Edgbaston on August 31.

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