Twitter Facebook YouTube Instagram

WAKELY'S WEEKLY

 


Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I'm able to write this latest column from the bus as we travel up to Yorkshire for our Blast game. As I speak the card games are really heating up. We don't play for money but it keeps us entertained. Kingo, our scorer, has to have his cards with him at all times for rain breaks.

The mood's nice and relaxed as we prepare to face Yorkshire, a team which has dominated the red-ball scene for the last three years and boasts some of the biggest names in the English game. Having already qualified for the knock-out stage, we're travelling in buoyant mood, but we're determined to finish the job and secure a home tie in the quarter-finals. Our home crowd have been amazing this year and I don't envy anyone coming to Wantage Road.

The chance to play at a big ground like Headingley, with its huge stands and its history, always gives you a buzz as a player. It's not my favourite ground though, that honour goes to Lords - an unusual choice, I know. It's the home of cricket and the lunches are absolutely incredible, better than most Michelin-starred restaurants I reckon. Being dismissed before lunch is never a problem there!

That said, Headingley is a popular destination for our squad and we've had plenty of success there in recent years. Last year we produced a brilliant performance to win by eight wickets in a 12-over-a-side game, and so we approach tonight's game with plenty of good memories.

We also go there in the knowledge that we possess one of the most potent spin combinations in the country. Seekkuge Prasanna has been a great investment and he rarely goes for more than seven over in T20 cricket, while offering an attacking threat all the time. He's been a worthy successor to Shahid Afridi and you can't offer a much higher accolade than that.

But against Birmingham it was Graeme White who stole the show, and deservedly so. For me he's one of the best left-spinners in the country, and his hat-trick the other night just underlined what a top player he is.

Whitey is an absolute dream to captain, he gives me great control and he's spinning the ball more than ever. He's always been a leader, even back when we played in the academy together as kids, and he's come back from Notts an improved bowler, as well as being a gun fielder and a more than capable batsmen who can smack it out of the park.

It's not been the easiest of journeys for Whitey. He got screwed over a bit when he signed a contract with us just before we signed Nicky Boje back in the day, and that stunted his development. Then he went to Notts and found it hard to break in with Samit Patel there. But when we signed him at the end of the 2013 season, after a few games on loan, it was one of the shrewdest moves we've made during my time as captain.

Of course it helps when you've got a big score on the board and we managed that the other night. It was one of those games where everything came off - every shot we played seemed to fly over the ropes. I was pretty chuffed with my 53 off 23 balls, but Adam Rossington's 85 off 51 was an absolute masterclass of an innings. A few weeks I spoke about Rossington as a star in the making and he absolutely mauled the Birmingham attack.

The fact that we rattled up 200 without Ben Duckett, who's away on England Lions duty, demonstrated the strength in depth we possess as a group. Rob Keogh, a lad with a strikerate of over 100 in T20 cricket, didn't even get a hit! With the likes of Prasanna, Steve Crook and Rory Kleinveldt we've got lads who can move around the order to suit the situation, and whack it out of the ground from ball one. It makes for a very versatile, fluid structure which is perfect for me as captain.

So on to Yorkshire, where David Willey will no doubt be desperate to put in a good showing against his old mates. He was a cornerstone of our group but we're eager to put one over on him tonight - and secure a home quarter-final in front of you lot!

SHARE THIS STORY share on twitter share on facebook
Archive
Our Sponsors
old speckled hen
hevey
bells kia
briggs forrester
metcalf
stanair
the cube disability
mem saab
brockhurst limousin
michael graham