All-rounder Martin Andersson feels he is still some way off establishing himself in the Middlesex side despite featuring in all their fixtures so far this season.
Andersson is one of only four players – alongside opener Max Holden, wicketkeeper John Simpson and red-ball captain Stephen Eskinazi – to remain ever-present for the Seaxes in both formats.
The 24-year-old struck a career-best 92 against Hampshire in the Bob Willis Trophy and also ended the red-ball campaign as his team’s second-highest wicket-taker, with his medium pace accounting for 14 scalps.
However, Andersson, who missed the majority of last season with a stress fracture of the back, believes he still has much to do before he can consider himself a first-team regular.
“I wouldn’t say that – it’s still quite early. But hopefully, if I can put a few more performances in, next year I’ll be on the way to doing that,” said Andersson.
“That was one of my targets at the beginning of the year, before Covid-19 happened – just to try and be available for selection for as many games as possible.
“Even though it’s ended up being a shortened season, it’s definitely been nice to stay on the pitch for once!”
Andersson, who picked up his second four-wicket haul of the Bob Willis Trophy as Middlesex’s campaign ended with a nine-wicket defeat to South Group winners Essex, is one of several younger players to have made his mark in recent weeks.
Left-arm spinner Thilan Walallawita, teenage seamer Blake Cullen and batsman Jack Davies have all made red-ball debuts, with leg-spinner Luke Hollman also impressing in the Vitality Blast.
“It’s definitely an exciting time for the younger players at Middlesex. We’re getting more opportunities than we have in previous years,” added Andersson.
“It’s a chance to showcase what we can actually do and we’ve been trying to give it our all. There are things to work on, but it’s been going all right and we’ve competed well in most of the games we’ve played.
“There are obviously personal milestones that I would like to achieve at some point, but I try not to think about them too much for now.”
Andersson and his team-mates resume their bid to qualify for the Blast quarter-finals on Saturday, with little margin remaining for error after a six-wicket reverse to Surrey pushed them down to fourth place in the group.
The Seaxes have the chance to avenge that loss when they host their London rivals at Lord’s on Monday evening, two days after taking on Hampshire at the same venue (2pm).
Having identified Andersson as ‘a serious batsman’ before the start of the season, head coach Stuart Law promoted him to number three in the T20 side – but the former Berkshire youngster is less than satisfied with his modest return of 52 runs in five innings so far.
“In the run-up to the tournament I was told that was what I’d be doing and it’s something we spoke about, how I should go about batting at three,” said Andersson.
“It hasn’t gone as well as I’d like, so hopefully I can learn from some of the sloppy mistakes I made at the beginning.
“I definitely want to bowl more in T20 as well, but we’ve got a strong bowling attack who have done quite well, so it’s a case of as and when the captain (Steven Finn) needs me.
“Our last game at the Oval was a bit of a disappointment but in the T20 format – as with anything – if you can win a few games in a row and get on a bit of a roll, you never know.”