Whilst not named in Stuart Law’s squad for Middlesex’s opening Vitality Blast encounter at Lord’s against Essex, the club’s Head Coach insists that Sam Robson could well be set for a rare starring role in Middlesex’s Vitality Blast campaign after adding a more belligerent streak to his game this season.
Generally regarded as a red-ball specialist, Robson has been largely surplus to requirements for T20 cricket during more than a decade in the Seaxes’ first team.
But he featured four times in the Royal London One-Day Cup earlier this season – and may get the nod for the Blast as well, with regular white-ball opener Paul Stirling set to miss next week’s three Vitality Blast fixtures due to his Ireland international commitments.
Besides, the notion of players being unsuited to a particular format of the game is one that cuts no ice whatsoever with Middlesex head coach Stuart Law.
“I’m a big believer that your best players are your best players, no matter the colour of the ball,” said Law. “Good players adapt to different conditions and circumstances.
“This whole thing of only playing white-ball cricket? I can’t think of any more nonsense that’s spoken in the world.
“We saw Robbo make a hundred in the 50-over cup against Somerset off about 100 balls, which I don’t think he’d done before.
“I’d said to him ‘Mate, you can’t play in this one-day team if you’re going to get 70 off 120 balls, that’s just not good enough. You can’t be batting well and letting balls go in a one-day game.
“He understood that and now he knows his role. He goes out and plays good positive cricket in the red-ball stuff and that’s exactly what you want.”
Robson had only four T20 appearances to his name for Middlesex until last month, when he played in the side that beat Leinster Lightning in a one-off match to celebrate the centenary of cricket in the Irish province.
The 30-year-old underlined another string to his bow in that game, taking three for 31 with his leg breaks – another factor that boosts his credentials for a place in the Blast line-up.
Middlesex launch their T20 campaign tonight when they take on Essex at Lord’s, with the squad heading into the game on a positive note.
Robson struck his second Specsavers County Championship century of the season, carrying his bat for 140 in the visitors’ second innings at Cardiff as they inflicted a 256-run defeat on previously unbeaten Glamorgan.
That result meant back-to-back Championship victories for Middlesex and lifted them into the thick of the Division Two promotion race for the first time this season, trailing third place by just two points.
“I don’t want to be targeting that – I want to be targeting how we play and getting better as a cricket team,” Law insisted. “If we’re doing it, that scenario will take care of itself.
“We’ve had some good results and this kind of competition is all about gaining momentum.”