Middlesex quick Steven Finn admits a return to Vitality Blast Finals Day is long overdue but believes the near-miss of last season will only benefit their quest to end a 12-year wait.
Finn was an unused squad member when Middlesex won the title in 2008 – the club’s most recent visit to Finals Day when it was staged at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
Now at the age of 30, and with 90 white-ball appearances for England under his belt, Finn wants to experience domestic cricket’s showpiece event of the summer.
“If I’m honest I’m a bit bored of watching it on TV and would like to be involved,” Finn said.
“It is something that is long overdue for us. I was very young when we did get there but didn’t actually play and as a domestic cricketer who has been out of the international scene for a bit now it is a day you really want to be involved in.
“We’ve made some good strides last year in the Blast by getting to the quarter-finals and we got knocked out by a very strong Nottinghamshire team.
“I think we’ll learn from that experience and move forward again this year. Losing that quarter-final last year could be good for us in the long term.
“I think we’re now far better equipped to deal with the ups and downs of the tournament and to come right at the right time to be able to get to Finals Day.”
Middlesex will help to launch the tournament with a blockbuster opening-night London derby against Surrey at the Kia Oval on Thursday, May 28.
The reverse fixture at Lord’s last summer attracted a record crowd for an English domestic Twenty20 last summer – a match Finn claimed a five-wicket haul in – and after tickets for the Blast went on sale today fans are being urged to book their seats early.
“They’re always great evenings against Surrey,” Finn said.
“It is only a short drive over the river but it’s always very raucous at The Oval and I would very much expect the first game of the tournament to be like that.
“When the fixture schedule comes out you do look for those big games when you know you’ll play in front of packed crowds and who you’re playing against in the games at Lord’s.
“I think the Vitality Blast offers a different Lord’s to what you might get at a Test match or a one-day international. There’s more going on, there’s more entertainment and I suppose there’s more glitz and glamour.
“Those nights at Lord’s which tend to be a Thursday and people spilling in after work – by the time the game starts the atmosphere is amazing.”
Middlesex will play five of their home games on a Thursday night while their Lord’s opener is against Gloucestershire on Sunday, May 31.
They will welcome back mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman while big-hitting Australian all-rounder Mitch Marsh, who captained Perth Scorchers in this winter’s Big Bash, joins for the group stage.
“We’ve very happy to have Mujeeb back. He’s an absolute mystery man – a genius,” Finn said.
“Even speaking to him about how he learnt to bowl first with a tennis ball and then a rubber ball and then a cricket ball is fascinating. Then to watch him do what he talks about on the pitch is pretty amazing.
“Having played against Mitchell Marsh a few times for Australia and seeing what he’s capable of and after seeing how he has gone in the Big Bash this year is quite exciting.
“His power in the middle order and what he brings as an all-round cricketer is exciting.
“That in amongst the good players we have already with Tom Helm and Nathan Sowter, who have done very well in T20 cricket recently, then we can hopefully come together and produce something even better.”