County Championship: Nathan Sowter knows he has to do well with bat to get in Middlesex team
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Leg-spinner Nathan Sowter admits he must impress with bat as well as ball to force his way into Middlesex’s four-day side.
The 25-year-old initially joined Middlesex to play only white-ball cricket, but made his County Championship debut last season and signed a two-year deal to stay at Lord’s until the end of 2019.
Now Sowter is aiming to push for a regular place in the county’s red-ball side – and he believes performances with the bat could help to give him the edge over his rivals.
“I can hold my own with the bat, which gives you more legs to stand on when it comes to selection,” said Sowter. “It gives me opportunities to pressure the people in front of me and create a bit of healthy competition.
“Ollie Rayner’s the number one spinner in Championship cricket but he’s a good batsman as well, so I need to have that to challenge him. My batting has got better over the last couple of years.
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“I’ve been trying to get myself up the order in the second team and hopefully I can bat a bit higher again this year. I like playing my shots and if the ball’s up there I’ll have a go.
“Although I started at Middlesex on a white-ball contract, I’ve always been looking to play first-class cricket. It’s the pinnacle of the game, because it tests your skills over a longer period of time.
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“I’ve worked hard with [second XI coach] Richard Johnson on my red-ball cricket in the winter, so hopefully I can put in some performances and really push for the first team.”
Sowter, who grew up in New South Wales, arrived on the county scene as a T20 specialist, returning figures of 2-2 with his first four deliveries in a Middlesex shirt.
He has since become a mainstay of the Seaxes’ line-up in the shortest format and ended last year’s T20 Blast as their leading wicket-taker.
And Sowter is also eager to play a bigger part in their Royal London One-Day Cup campaign, which gets under way later this month.
“My plan is to maintain my T20 spot but also to try and get involved a little bit more in the 50-over side this season,” added Sowter.
“I had an injury last year right at the start of that tournament, which was really disappointing. But I think there’s always a place for leg-spin.
“It’s a little bit different and unpredictable and has to be used in a certain way, but it can create so much havoc.”
Middlesex, whose rain-affected Championship game against Glamorgan earlier this week was abandoned as a draw, head to Hove next to face Sussex on Friday.