County Championship: Middlesex youngster Max Holden excited for Division Two opener against Northamptonshire
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Holden set to make first appearance at Lord’s this week
Max Holden is relishing the prospect of making his first Lord’s appearance for Middlesex in Friday’s Specsavers County Championship opener — with the added twist of facing Northamptonshire, the club where he spent much of last season on loan.
Holden, the left-handed opener from Cambridge whose pedigree includes captaining England Under-19s, scored 629 runs in nine Championship appearances for the Midlands county at a healthy average of 39.3, including two centuries, before returning to Middlesex to make his debut for his parent county against Uxbridge.
But starting the 2018 season at Lord’s will still be special.
“It has been a dream for as long as I can remember really,” he confirms.
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“It was incredible playing at Uxbridge because that was a goal for the last 10 years to represent Middlesex, but it will be extra special representing them at Lord’s – an unbelievable ground with so much history.
“I played there for England schoolboys when I was 17 and it was an unbelievable experience and to do that for Middlesex will be even more special, a bit surreal really.”
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Club captain Dawid Malan spoke earlier in pre-season of Middlesex’s need to do homework on some Division Two opponents. But after his time in Northampton last summer, Holden is well-qualified to provide the inside track.
He believes the biggest challenge will be to combat the front-foot, positive approach which brought the men of Wantage Road nine wins from 14 last season - stats which would have seen them promoted but for an over-rate points deduction.
“They are a very talented bunch of players and the thing I found about them was they play this fearless brand of cricket,” he said.
“They go out and express themselves. The batters have no real fear of failure. They play their shots.
“They are under-rated as a team by some guys. We turned over a lot of good teams when I was there.”
No-one could accuse Holden of not doing everything possible to be ready for his biggest stage yet.
Just 20 minutes after missing out against Durham MCCU at Merchant Taylors’ School last weekend he was padded up and off to the nets. After lunch he disappeared again for a bowl and not content with that, there was a solo running session. Does he get bored easily?
“Yes - the lads take the mickey out of me sometimes, but I don’t particularly like sitting down,” he added. “I didn’t get the runs I’d have liked, so I felt it was important to keep working on a few things and try and get something out of the day.
“I’ll go home now thinking I’ve made another step forward in preparing for the Championship year.
“There’s no substitute for that hard work and hopefully if you put enough of that in, the odds come in your favour a bit more and you can be that bit more successful.”