Middlesex have announced a thirteen-man squad for the away trip to play Lancashire in the Specsavers County Championship at Southport and Birkdale Cricket Club.
Middlesex head into the clash on the back of a recent draw against Somerset at Lord’s, where the weather once again played its part in frustrating both sides’ hopes of forcing a result in the match.
Middlesex today announced the news that Adam Voges will fly back to Australia for a period of six weeks, to recover from the torn calf injury he picked up whilst playing in that Somerset clash, although as Voges steps out, a fully fit Sam Robson returns to the side to take his place, having now recovered from a hamstring injury that has kept him on the side-lines for the last five weeks. Robson will resume his opening partnership with Nick Gubbins at the top of the order, as Nick Compton also misses out of the trip to Southport, favoured for the Second Eleven Trophy final instead, being played at Headingley today.
The batting ranks are also bolstered by the return of an in-form Dawid Malan, who steps back into the side, having recently performed so admirably for the England Lions against South Africa-A.
James Harris’s loan spell has also now finished at Kent, and he is named in the squad, with Steven Finn absent on international duty with England in the ICC Champions Trophy. Harris joins a seam attack comprising Toby Roland-Jones, Tom Helm and Tim Murtagh, with Ollie Rayner, Ravi Patel, Paul Stirling and Dawid Malan offering options in the spin department.
Middlesex currently reside in sixth place in the Division One table, with a tally of 45 points from four drawn matches, whilst their opponents Lancashire, sit just one place ahead, on 54 points having played a game more. Whilst Middlesex head into this clash unbeaten, Lancashire must pick themselves up after a thumping innings defeat by Yorkshire in their recent roses clash.
Whilst Middlesex have clearly been frustrated by the weather and have at times looked below their normal standards of excellence, resulting in four consecutive drawn matches this term, Middlesex Captain James Franklin remains optimistic that the side can find the victory they need to build momentum throughout the coming month when his side play four back to back Championship matches…
“We must remember that it is a marathon, not a sprint, and we’ve still got 10 Championship games to go and I’m hoping we’ll get one win and then build momentum.
“There’s no panic stations yet. Last year it took us seven games to get our first win, we’re only four games in for 2017, and things can change a lot within a month. We’re not playing badly, we’re just not quite firing on all cylinders.”
Middlesex squad to face Lancashire at Southport and Birkdale Cricket Club…
James Franklin (captain)
John Simpson (wicket-keeper)