Franklin’s name goes with greats
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.”