Naomi Dattani and Natasha Miles will captain Middlesex this year in the County Championship and T20 respectively. With the start of the summer only a few days away, we preview their season with One-Day captain Naomi Dattani and meet two new members of the squad.
Middlesex have made a few changes to this year’s squad with batter Cordelia Griffith moving from Essex for the County Championship as well as the T20s, sixteen-year-old right-arm seamer Sonali Patel named in the senior squad for the first time, experienced Scottish batter Olivia Rae for both campigns and pace-bowler Lauren Bell signed for T20.
Dattani spoke about the squad’s winter training and how they are gelling as a team, ‘It’s been really good, we’ve had a lot of young players coming through and developing their skills. We had a few new names in the squad this year and we’ve got to see them over the winter so preparation’s been good. Everyone’s getting more confident in their skills and their knowledge of the game. Over the winter and towards the end part of last season everyone’s started to gel as a team and understand each other’s personalities, and how to have a laugh and a joke with it.’
Despite the disappointment of being relegated to Division T20, Dattani is confident the squad can learn from their T20 success, ‘I think it’s just trying to use the success and the skills we had from the T20 format into the longer format and how we can maintain concentration levels. Being patient with the ball and the bat and just do the basics well over a longer period of time. We’ve done a lot of work on rotating the strike and getting players to really think about those basics and hopefully that will really show in Division Two this year.’
Speaking about her aim for the season Dattani said, ‘As a team we just want to do the basics well and have fun on the pitch and create a foundation for everyone to show off their skills that we see in training all the time. Hopefully we can build on each game and create a winning momentum through the season. Personally I just want to continue building on the things I’ve done in the past. I’ve worked a lot on my mind-set and confidence and just believing in the skills I’ve got. I hope I can put in consistent performances for the team and help the team get bigger scores and take wickets when needed.’
Looking to defend their T20 title, Middlesex have bolstered their squad by signing England Academy, South Vipers and Berkshire quick Lauren Bell. Making her Southern Vipers debut in 2018 was a nervous occasion for Bell but she said, ‘Southern Vipers helped me learn how to really control my nerves, control the ball and focus on what I’m doing, rather than everyone around me.’
Perhaps surprisingly Bell is not nervous when the London Cup at Lord’s is mentioned; instead she is relishing the opportunity to play at the most iconic cricket ground, ‘…I’m more excited about that and to get everyone to come and watch. It’s such an amazing thing and I’m more excited to play and for the day to come and play at the Home of Cricket.’
The aspiring England player is also looking forward to taking the field alongside Middlesex stalwart and former England player Beth Morgan, ‘… it’s going to be great to play with someone that talented and I’m sure she’s got a lot of experience to share with me.’
Rae will be part of both Middlesex’s 50 over and T20 campaigns and explains what she’s looking forward to and what she can bring to the squad, ‘[Being part of] a new team, the potential of playing Division One cricket and I’m really passionate about the game. I really do see myself as using my experiences to mentor people. I’m a really big team player, to keep morale up.
Rae’s personal aims for the season are those of a good team-player as are her remarks on the London Cup, ‘I’m fairly open-minded as to where I bat. Whatever the situation is, if we need someone to stabilise the innings or rotate the strike. Whenever I get the bat in hand I want to do the job in front of me. Obviously I’d love to be part of that team [at Lord’s] but even to watch my teammates on the pitch, though I’d absolutely love to walk onto the turf at the Home of Cricket.’
Middlesex begin their season on Sunday 21st April against Essex away at Chelmsford Cricket Ground. The County Championship fixture starts at 11am.
Middlesex 2019 Squad
Lauren Bell (T20 only)
Amara Carr (T20 only)