Franklin’s name goes with greats

CRICKET

Harefield Gazette - - SPORT -

MID­DLE­SEX CCC’S tro­phy-lift­ing cap­tain James Franklin was un­com­fort­able with com­par­isons to Mike Brear­ley and Mike Gat­ting af­ter end­ing the county’s 23-year wait for an­other County Cham­pi­onship.

The for­mer New Zealand in­ter­na­tional stepped in for Adam Vo­ges af­ter he went away with Aus­tralia and was blocked from re­turn­ing due to an in­jury.

Franklin, who was named as the 50-over cap­tain at the start of the sea­son, stepped into the breach and led the Lord’s side to their first ti­tle since 1993 and their first piece of sil­ver­ware since the 2008 Twenty20 com­pe­ti­tion.

Franklin’s name may go down along­side the ti­tle win­ning cap­tains such as Gat­ting and Brear­ley, but he in­sisted it was about Mid­dle­sex and their squad, not him.

He said: “I’m re­luc­tant about be­ing com­pared to them – Adam Vo­ges is the spir­i­tual cap­tain. It’s not about me or Gatt, it’s about the cup, the club and the group of play­ers.”

Mid­dle­sex started the sea­son with sev­eral weather-af­fected draws but found their best form in July when they won at York­shire and Som­er­set in dra­matic fash­ion to take the lead in the ti­tle race.

How­ever, it was not wrapped up un­til there were un­der five overs left in the sea­son when Toby Roland-Jones bowled York­shire’s Ryan Side­bot­tom at Lord’s to se­cure the ti­tle.

Franklin added: “With a few rounds to go we knew if we were in the shake-up we had a chance to cre­ate his­tory but not un­til you take the fi­nal wicket do you be­lieve it’s done and dusted.

“We’ve got a re­silient group that is al­ways fight­ing. It was great skill to get us across the line.”

Mid­dle­sex’s class of 2016 will go down in his­tory but, for Franklin, one player stood above ev­ery­one and that was Nick Gub­bins, whose re­mark­able sea­son ended with a cen­tury and a 90 in the ti­tle de­cider against York­shire.

He said: “Nick Gub­bins has been out­stand­ing in the Cham­pi­onship for us. For a 22-year-old to belt out 1,400 runs with a lot of them un­der pres­sure – he’s been out­stand­ing.”

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