Middlesex youngster happy to be learning from fellow left-handers

Nick Gubbins batting for Middlesex. Pic: Sarah Williams

Nick Gubbins batting for Middlesex. Pic: Sarah Williams - Credit: Archant

Conventional wisdom dictates that any team’s ideal batting order should comprise a mixture of left and right-handers as a means of disturbing the bowlers’ rhythm.

But Middlesex’s line-up has been heavily weighted in favour of left-handed batsmen this season – and, as far as the newest name on the scorecard is concerned, the more the merrier.

Leeds University student Nick Gubbins was propelled into the first team earlier in the summer due to Sam Robson’s England selection and has since hit three half-centuries in four County Championship appearances.

And the 20-year-old is more than happy to learn his trade from several fellow left-handers, most notably the experienced of trio Chris Rogers, Dawid Malan and Eoin Morgan.

“Out in the middle I’ve batted a lot with Dawid Malan – we’ve had a few decent partnerships and we’re quite similar batsmen in terms of what we’re trying to do with our weight and head position,” said Gubbins.

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“He helps me out a lot and during the Warwickshire game – when neither of us got as many runs as we’d have liked. We went over to the indoor school at Lord’s, hit a few balls and looked at a few things.

“I’ve learned a lot off him and also Eoin Morgan. He’s one of the best in the world when it comes to playing against spin, so anything I can pick up off him is fantastic.

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“There’s definitely a great selection of blokes to learn from so I’m very lucky in that respect. When I first came into the side the top four were all left-handers, so I tried to pick their brains as much as possible.”

Gubbins, who hails from south-west London – and, like former Middlesex and England captain Andrew Strauss attended Radley College – did gain first-class experience with the Leeds/Bradford MCCU team last summer.

But he was pitched in at the deep end in late June when Middlesex asked him to open the batting alongside Rogers against Northamptonshire at Lord’s.

And, while his first taste of senior cricket came much sooner than he had expected, the youngster thrived on that pressure as he produced a debut innings of 54.

“When you’re 20 years old, still at university and you’re walking out to open the batting with a current Australian Test batsman I don’t really think you’ve got anything to lose – it’s all to gain,” Gubbins recalled.

“How many people get to say they’ve batted at Lord’s with Chris Rogers on debut? I was just trying to enjoy the moment and remain calm about it and that seemed to work for me.

“It started off nicely and I should have gone on, to be honest, but I think I was so overawed to have got to 50 that I tried to pull one and it went up in the air.

“At the start of the season I was just completing my second year exams and doing well in the MCC scheme, assuming that I’d come back and play second-team cricket regularly for Middlesex.

“But if I’m realistic I didn’t expect to break into the first team until after university, so it’s been an absolute bonus to break in this year and prove to a few people that I can do it at the top level.”

Since his debut, Gubbins – who is averaging just under 35 in the County Championship – has also featured in a handful of 50-over matches for Middlesex, including their friendly against the Indian tourists.

He also came agonisingly close to a maiden century, being run out for 95 against Somerset at Uxbridge – and that is a setback he would ideally like to rectify before the season comes to a close.

“It still gives me goosebumps when I think about that [Somerset],” added Gubbins. “Personally I’d like to nail down the season with a hundred but if it doesn’t happen I’m not going to kick myself.

“I could be playing second-team cricket, which is a lot less exciting than this. Being in and around the set-up is awesome and I’m learning all the time, so I’m trying to be pretty chilled about it all and just enjoy it.”

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