Robson confident Middlesex can take white-ball form into County Championship campaign
PUBLISHED: 17:00 13 May 2019
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Sam Robson says Middlesex will resume their red-ball campaign in a buoyant mood on the back of their best-ever performance in the Royal London One-Day Cup.
The Seaxes won six of their eight group matches to reach the knockout phase of the tournament for the first time, before narrowly losing out to Lancashire in a thrilling play-off tie at Lord's.
Despite that 20-run defeat, Robson sees no reason why the squad's recent progress in white-ball cricket should not spill over into their upcoming Specsavers County Championship fixtures, starting with Leicestershire's visit to Lord's on Tuesday.
"It wasn't to be against Lancashire, but sitting in the dressing-room afterwards with (head coach) Stuart Law, we looked back on it all very positively," said the 29-year-old opener.
"So many of the guys performed really well individually and when that happens, it's no surprise we were able to get to the play-off game.
"The trick now is to take that form with us going forward. The last thing you want going into a period of Championship cricket is to have batsmen coming off a tournament where they haven't got any runs or bowlers who haven't got wickets.
"We didn't have the greatest of starts in the Championship and we don't want to be chasing our tails as the season goes on, so we need to get some wins.
"In the past, our four-day team has often been very different, with five or six changes, but this is pretty much the same team and it's all about carrying on the momentum."
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That sense of continuity is particularly applicable to Robson, who had rarely been a regular in Middlesex's white-ball side, but made a genuine impact in the 50-over tournament this time.
Stepping up to replace Paul Stirling when Ireland commitments ruled him out, Robson demolished the Somerset attack to register his maiden white-ball century and followed that with 79 against Glamorgan — both Middlesex victories.
"It has been frustrating not to play more white-ball stuff, but Stirlo being away opened up an opportunity and I was really pleased to take it," said Robson.
"As a batsman you want to keep playing and scoring runs because that's the way you keep your rhythm."
It was not only as opener that Robson proved a more than adequate stand-in for Stirling during the second half of the tournament.
Previously, his occasional leg-breaks had generally been deployed in the dying embers of games where the outcome was a foregone conclusion, but he featured more prominently against Glamorgan, reeling off five overs for a very respectable 1-27.
Having worked on his bowling with former Australia all-rounder Greg Matthews and Nathan Rowe, another of the coaches at Easts CC in his native Sydney, Robson is keen to continue turning his arm over more frequently.
"I bowled a lot when I was younger, but when I came to England with different conditions, it took a bit of a back seat," he said.
"When I've gone back to play grade cricket I've bowled a bit more. If you've got part-timers, particularly wrist-spinners with a bit of variation in the middle overs, it can be handy.
"It's something I want to keep working at - it improves my value to the side and also means you're in the game, which is more fun. I've changed my long run-up and I don't know why I didn't do that years ago - it's less tiring!"