Gus: We’ve all bought in to Vet­tori’s ar­rival

The Cricket Paper - - NEWS - By Ross Law­son

WITH a T20 record on a po­lar op­po­site to their County Cham­pi­onship suc­cess, it’s lit­tle won­der An­gus Fraser’s Mid­dle­sex felt that sig­nif­i­cant change was nec­es­sary to re­dress the bal­ance.

In Daniel Vet­tori, Fraser has made the rare move to ap­point a spe­cial­ist T20 coach to over­see the Lon­don county’s weak link – last year bring­ing their first quar­ter-fi­nal since lift­ing the tro­phy all the way back in 2008.

Only Der­byshire – who ap­pointed John Wright as their spe­cial­ist coach for T20 in Oc­to­ber last year – can boast a sim­i­lar job in a po­ten­tially pi­o­neer­ing strat­egy.

But with 442 New Zealand ap­pear­ances and coach­ing stints in the BBL and IPL to his name, for­mer all-rounder Vet­tori does not rep­re­sent a stab in the dark.

And with the land­scape of county cricket con­stantly chang­ing, and a po­ten­tial new tour­na­ment on the hori­zon, di­rec­tor of cricket Fraser be­lieves oth­ers may quickly fol­low his and Der­byshire’s untested strat­egy.

“In the same way as it’s dif­fi­cult for one man to cap­tain in all three com­pe­ti­tions, it can be hard on coaches,” he said. “You fin­ish a Cham­pi­onship match one day and play a T20 Blast game straight after. It’s hard to be up all the time.

“It’s an in­ter­est­ing sit­u­a­tion, clubs are find­ing dif­fer­ent ways to be suc­cess­ful and this idea sounds like some­thing more clubs will be do­ing.

“But it won’t be ev­ery­one’s cup of tea. A side like Northants – twice cham­pi­ons in four years – have had a lot of suc­cess with­out it.”

Mid­dle­sex have, at times, been ac­cused of ne­glect­ing Blast cricket in re­cent years, with pri­or­i­ties seem­ingly on the four-day game.

And while Fraser is adamant there has been no de­fin­i­tive prej­u­dice, the ap­point­ment of Vet­tori marks an ac­tive shift in men­tal­ity for the four-day cham­pi­ons.

It’s a move he ad­mits will come with an ad­just­ment pe­riod, par­tic­u­larly with the pres­sure to de­fend their County Cham­pi­onship crown and fight for the One-Day Cup, an­other tour­na­ment in which they’ve been found want­ing in re­cent years.

But Fraser is con­fi­dent the tour­na­ment’s un­der-achievers can put to rest a dis­ap­point­ing his­tory, back­ing Vet­tori to be the man to de­liver.“The last thing I want is to un­der­mine the cur­rent coaches who have cre­ated a win­ning en­vi­ron­ment. Richard Scott has very much bought into this idea,” he added.

“Per­haps sub­con­sciously, the men­tal­ity of the club or the sup­port­ers is that the Cham­pi­onship comes first. It’s like ask­ing which of your chil­dren you love most – we have pri­or­ity for all of our cricket. And hav­ing Dan in is about mak­ing sure we reaf­firm that.

“We did bet­ter last year, but had four or five play­ers miss­ing, which ham­strung us slightly, but we hope that’s not the case this year, and Dan comes to us highly rec­om­mended in the way he goes about his cricket.”

TCP VER­DICT

Hav­ing won the County Cham­pi­onship in 2016, it’s no won­der Mid­dle­sex want to add a T20 tro­phy to their cab­i­net. Daniel Vet­tori could be the per­fect man to lead them to that, and it looks like he is re­ceiv­ing the back­ing needed to be suc­cess­ful too.

PIC­TURES: Getty Im­ages

As­set: Daniel Vet­tori. Inset: An­gus Fraser

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