2018 county cricket previews: Middlesex
In partnership with the Cricketers’ Who’s Who, here’s Wisden’s profile of Middlesex for 2018.
HOME GROUND: Lord’s Cricket Ground, London
CAPTAIN: Dawid Malan
2017 RESULTS: CC1: 7/8; RL50: 8/9 South Group; T20: 7/9 South Group
HONOURS: Championship: (13) 1903, 1920, 1921, 1947, 1949(s), 1976, 1977(s), 1980, 1982, 1985, 1990, 1993, 2016; Gillette/NatWest/C&G/ FP Trophy: (4) 1977, 1980, 1984, 1998; Benson & Hedges Cup: (2) 1983, 1986; Sunday League: 1992; T20 Cup: 2008
County Championship winners in 2016, relegated in 2017. But a poor season deserves context: Middlesex finished just three points off fourth place. The winter has brought only one major change, with Dawid Malan appointed captain across all formats, though his England commitments will often leave the team in the hands of new vice-captain Sam Robson.
What compounded last year’s disappointment was the modest showings in white-ball cricket, a recurrent theme for a decade now. The hiring of specialist T20 coach Daniel Vettori has yet to reap dividends, with Brendon McCullum and Eoin Morgan both struggling for form last summer. Morgan, who last played a first-class match in July 2015, hopes to return to Championship action this summer.
Middlesex could do with his runs; Nick Gubbins made 1,000 runs fewer than in 2016, while Nick Compton’s travails continued. The pace attack is strong, although Steven Finn and Toby Roland-Jones are returning from winter injuries. Much is expected of 23-year-old fast bowler Tom Helm and 20-year-old batsman Max Holden, who earned the nickname of Mini Chef (think Alastair Cook) while on loan at Northants last season.
IN: Ashton Agar (Aus, T20); Hilton Cartwright
OUT: Ryan Higgins (Glo); Harry Podmore (Kent)
Head Coach: Richard Scott
Scott goes into his ninth season as head coach under scrutiny, despite overseeing the Championship triumph in 2016. An immediate return to Division One is expected. Scott had an eight-year county career with Hampshire and Gloucestershire – as well as turning out for Middlesex 2nd XI, whom he coached for two seasons before his promotion to the top role in 2009. Former New Zealand spinner Daniel Vettori signed a three-year contract as the county’s specialist T20 coach in December 2016.
RL50: 7/9 South Group
T20: 7/9 South Group
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