Head Coach Stuart Law names squad of thirteen for Somerset County Championship clash.
Middlesex head to Taunton for round four of the LV= Insurance County Championship with confidence in the camp high, coming off the back of a two-and-a-half-day win in their last encounter against London rivals Surrey at Lord’s.
After two opening losses, Middlesex got their season up and running under the new leadership of Australian overseas skipper Peter Handscomb in fine style at Lord’s, dominating the opening two days, before blowing apart the Surrey batting line-up with a dominant seam display on the morning of day three.
To win inside seven sessions showed just how dominant that performance was, and it was just the tonic Law’s side needed, to lift their spirits ahead of a tough trip to the West Country to take on Somerset this week.
In Taunton Middlesex will be looking to right some wrongs from their opening round performance against Somerset, where Law’s side were well on top for large parts of the game, only for Somerset to grasp control on the final day of the game and snatch victory from Middlesex’s grasp.
It was a tough loss to take after dominating for so much of the game, and Middlesex will have learned a harsh lesson from that defeat - that switching off for just a session can cost you dearly, irrespective of how much you’re in control of the game.
Against Surrey both Sam Robson and Robbie White continued their solid early season form, with Robson hitting another 95, to add to the brilliant 165 he hit in round one against this week’s opponents, whilst White backed up his fine and gutsy 73 against Hampshire, with another composed and classy knock of 72 against the South Londoners last week.
Skipper Handscomb will be looking to impress with bat in hand, after starting with a four-ball duck at Lord’s last week, however he brings quality and calmness to the Middlesex order, and it can only be a matter of time before he and those around him add the weight of runs that Law has been calling for.
With a continued focus on managing the workloads of his pace unit, Law again uses his rest and rotation policy of the seamers, who have a long season ahead of them. Whilst they are all currently fit and firing on all cylinders, a careful approach to keeping them that way seems a well thought out policy, and with a healthy pool of seamers at his disposal, Law rests Roland-Jones and Bamber for the trip to the West County.
Replacing them in the squad are Tom Helm and Blake Cullen, who are both due an outing, whilst Law also adds to his spin options, with Thilan Walallawita joining Luke Hollman in the squad, with Walallawita making a welcome return to the squad having missed the early part of the season through injury.
With Middlesex currently sat in fourth place in the Group Two table, just nine points behind Somerset, a victory for Law’s men in Taunton would move them up the table and within reach of both Hampshire and Gloucestershire, who going into round four reside in the group’s top two places.
With everything to play for in Somerset, and with Middlesex looking to enact some revenge on their West Country hosts for that opening round defeat, it promises to be a gripping encounter down in Taunton.
Middlesex’s thirteen-man squad is as follows:
Peter Handscomb (captain)
John Simpson (wicket-keeper)