Middlesex star has mixed feelings about Twenty20 reunion with Gloucestershire

James Fuller in bowling action for Middlesex. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

James Fuller in bowling action for Middlesex. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

James Fuller is feeling a mixture of eagerness and anxiety as he prepares to face his former Gloucestershire team-mates for the first time on Thursday.

The Middlesex seamer spent five seasons with the West Country side, helping them to win the Royal London One-Day Cup in his farewell appearance last year before switching to Lord’s.

While Fuller is relishing the chance to line up against Gloucestershire in the NatWest T20 Blast South Group clash at Old Merchant Taylor’s School (5.30pm), he has also sounded a note of caution.

“I keep in contact with the Gloucestershire guys all the time and check how they’re going, so to play against them will be fun – but I’m also going to be nervous because I know how good they are,” said Fuller.

“They’ve got so many good players – people like Michael Klinger, Benny Howell, Ian Cockbain.

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“They’ve worked really hard on their one-day skills and they really do target the T20 and 50-over formats during the summer, so we’re going to have to work hard against them. I’m sure they’ll know what I do – but I know exactly what they do as well!

“I’ll have a lot of information to give the rest of the guys at Middlesex about what sort of plans they’ll be coming here with – their strengths and weaknesses – and hopefully we’ll get the win.”

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Gloucestershire are still seeking their first point in the tournament, having narrowly lost their opening game to Sussex under the Duckworth/Lewis system.

By contrast, Middlesex made an inspiring start to their campaign at Uxbridge, thrashing Hampshire – renowned as one of the more successful T20 sides in the country – by 69 runs.

Fuller made his Middlesex debut in that game, finishing with figures of 2-17 as well as producing a lethal throw from the boundary to run out former Pakistan star Shahid Afridi.

“That ball came very fast, with a lot of spin – so I pat myself on the back initially for stopping it!” said Fuller. “I threw it in as hard as I could and pretty close to the stumps and got the run-out.

“It was a good way to come into the team for my first game. We did exactly what you want in a Twenty20 – put on a big score and then take quick wickets, because that really puts the screws on the opposition.”

Fuller also featured in Middlesex’s County Championship victory against Hampshire at Old Merchant Taylor’s, taking 5-70 as the visitors were beaten by an innings and 116 runs.

But the 26-year-old knows there can be no room for complacency – either for individuals or the team as Middlesex attempt to build on their positive start to the T20 tournament.

“It’s only one game and there are 13 to go, so we’ve got to bring this sort of energy and attitude every time,” added Fuller. “You’ve never cracked the game – you’ve got to keep doing your work behind the scenes.

“We want to be smarter, more accurate with our plans, and one thing we want to bring to Twenty20 is the view that every ball counts. If you get hit for four, you pick your head up and walk back to your mark.”

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