Have you Wintered well? Part 11: Middlesex

Have you Wintered well? Part 11: Middlesex

At a time when we are all missing the cricket season, our writers endeavour to keep you happy with some county-by-county information on Winter activity. Ben Henley-Washford brings you the news from Lord's. Please note that all information given is correct at time of publication.

Dawid Malan Middlesex 2019
Dawid Malan in his last season for Middlesex. Photo courtesy of youtube, with thanks

How do you solve a problem like Middlesex? Despite their relative success in the Blast last summer, it’s difficult to look past the abysmal performance in the long format of the game that left them eighth in the Second Division of the Championship, just three years on from winning the Division One title. Well, the club have been proactive in the winter months and this summer will likely be a make or break season for Stuart Law.

Firstly, we should address the elephant in the room: Dawid Malan, who had been at the club since 2006, moved to Yorkshire in November. This came after he stepped down as captain at the end of the 2019 season. 

Perhaps this was something more innocent: a player who had spent 13 years at one club and simply wanted a new challenge at a higher level to boost his chances of international selection. Perhaps Law was frustrated with a captain appointed before his premiership, who did not share his long-term vision for the club. Whatever the case may be, the power tussle is over. Malan is gone and Law has a big season ahead. 

On a more positive note, opener Sam Robson and all-rounder Toby Roland-Jones, who were both so pivotal in the club’s title winning 2016, have committed to three more years at Lord’s. Joining them for two of those seasons will be club stalwart Tim Murtagh, and overseas player Peter Handscomb, who will also take on the role of captain in the longer form of the game; Eoin Morgan will captain the club in the Blast. 

On paper, aside from the Malan situation, things at the club look good. The squad is strong and the aim should be to return to the top level of County Cricket. But cricket is not a game played on paper, and one does feel that something more is needed than just star power to fire Middlesex back to where they belong.

Law now has more or less complete control over the squad, and over the winter he said:

“I want the mateship to come back; I want us to spend more time [together] away from the game during the summer. Successful teams spend a lot of time away from the game of cricket as well.

“If you get to know your teammates on a very personal level, when you get into a fight, it’s amazing how much you stand behind one another and fight hard for the cause.”

Maybe now power struggles and animosities can be left in the 2010s. With bridges burnt and rebuilt in Law’s image, it is possible that the dressing room can unite. The 2020 season signals a pivotal moment for Middlesex CCC; away from everything else that is going on worldwide, this season feels like a make or break moment for Law. 

We cannot know how much of the Championship season will be played. Many clubs have cancelled their overseas players’ contracts and, if this is the case for Middlesex, they will not only be losing a talented cricketer, but a captain as well.

How do you solve a problem like Middlesex? Despite their relative success in the Blast last summer, it’s difficult to look past the abysmal performance in the long format of the game that left them eighth in the Second Division of the Championship, just three years on from winning the Division One title. Well, the club have been proactive in the winter months and this summer will likely be a make or break season for Stuart Law.

Firstly, we should address the elephant in the room: David Malan, who had been at the club since 2006, moved to Yorkshire in November. This came after he stepped down as captain at the end of the 2019 season. 

Perhaps this was something more innocent: a player who had spent 13 years at one club and simply wanted a new challenge at a higher level to boost his chances of international selection. Perhaps Law was frustrated with a captain appointed before his premiership, who did not share his long-term vision for the club. Whatever the case may be, the power tussle is over. Malan is gone and Law has a big season ahead. 

On a more positive note, opener Sam Robson and all-rounder Toby Roland-Jones, who were both so pivotal in the club’s title winning 2016, have committed to three more years at Lord’s. Joining them for two of those seasons will be club stalwart Tim Murtagh, and overseas player Peter Handscomb, who will also take on the role of captain in the longer form of the game; Eoin Morgan will captain the club in the Blast. 

On paper, aside from the Malan situation, things at the club look good. The squad is strong and the aim should be to return to the top level of County Cricket. But cricket is not a game played on paper, and one does feel that something more is needed than just star power to fire Middlesex back to where they belong.

Law now has more or less complete control over the squad, and over the winter he said:

“I want the mateship to come back; I want us to spend more time [together] away from the game during the summer. Successful teams spend a lot of time away from the game of cricket as well.

“If you get to know your teammates on a very personal level, when you get into a fight, it’s amazing how much you stand behind one another and fight hard for the cause.”

Maybe now power struggles and animosities can be left in the 2010s. With bridges burnt and rebuilt in Law’s image, it is possible that the dressing room can unite. The 2020 season signals a pivotal moment for Middlesex CCC; away from everything else that is going on worldwide, this season feels like a make or break moment for Law. 

We cannot know how much of the Championship season will be played. Many clubs have cancelled their overseas players’ contracts and, if this is the case for Middlesex, they will not only be losing a talented cricketer, but a captain as well.

How do you solve a problem like Middlesex? Despite their relative success in the Blast last summer, it’s difficult to look past the abysmal performance in the long format of the game that left them eighth in the Second Division of the Championship, just three years on from winning the Division One title. Well, the club have been proactive in the winter months and this summer will likely be a make or break season for Stuart Law.

Firstly, we should address the elephant in the room: David Malan, who had been at the club since 2006, moved to Yorkshire in November. This came after he stepped down as captain at the end of the 2019 season. 

Perhaps this was something more innocent: a player who had spent 13 years at one club and simply wanted a new challenge at a higher level to boost his chances of international selection. Perhaps Law was frustrated with a captain appointed before his premiership, who did not share his long-term vision for the club. Whatever the case may be, the power tussle is over. Malan is gone and Law has a big season ahead. 

On a more positive note, opener Sam Robson and all-rounder Toby Roland-Jones, who were both so pivotal in the club’s title winning 2016, have committed to three more years at Lord’s. Joining them for two of those seasons will be club stalwart Tim Murtagh, and overseas player Peter Handscomb, who will also take on the role of captain in the longer form of the game; Eoin Morgan will captain the club in the Blast. 

On paper, aside from the Malan situation, things at the club look good. The squad is strong and the aim should be to return to the top level of County Cricket. But cricket is not a game played on paper, and one does feel that something more is needed than just star power to fire Middlesex back to where they belong.

Law now has more or less complete control over the squad, and over the winter he said:

“I want the mateship to come back; I want us to spend more time [together] away from the game during the summer. Successful teams spend a lot of time away from the game of cricket as well.

“If you get to know your teammates on a very personal level, when you get into a fight, it’s amazing how much you stand behind one another and fight hard for the cause.”

Maybe now power struggles and animosities can be left in the 2010s. With bridges burnt and rebuilt in Law’s image, it is possible that the dressing room can unite. The 2020 season signals a pivotal moment for Middlesex CCC; away from everything else that is going on worldwide, this season feels like a make or break moment for Law. 

We cannot know how much of the Championship season will be played. Many clubs have cancelled their overseas players’ contracts and, if this is the case for Middlesex, they will not only be losing a talented cricketer, but a captain as well.

We may not even see any cricket this summer; personally, I am praying with every fibre of my being that we do. If we do, I believe it might just be the most important season for the club since their triumphant year in 2016. 

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