Neil Dexter, who inherited one of the most challenging jobs in English cricket when he took over the Middlesex captaincy from Shaun Udal in June, has admitted he is still being frustrated by the inconsistency of his side.
Dexter, who will be 26 on August 21, has enjoyed an excellent season personally, averaging around 50 in the County Championship and becoming increasingly influential too with his medium pace, especially in one-day cricket.
But it is the overall form of his team, as a unit, which is dominating his thoughts on the job he has in front of him at Lord’s, notwithstanding the emergence of young talents at Middlesex such as Toby Roland-Jones, John Simpson and Josh Davey to follow in the wake of Steven Finn and Eoin Morgan.
Dexter said: “We have at times played some truly exceptional cricket – for instance during our excellent Championship win over Surrey – but we have not been able to produce that level of performance with consistency throughout.
“We’ve dominated sessions in many matches, putting ourselves into strong positions, only to let that position slip with a poor session or two which has allowed the opposition to get back into the game.”
Dexter’s comments seemed even more apt when, in their Championship fixture after the Surrey win – against Leicestershire at Lord’s – Middlesex let themselves down with the bat and were bowled out for 219 in the first innings, allowing Matthew Hoggard’s side the chance to wrest control of the game.
Middlesex, with only three second division Championship outings remaining after this current Leicestershire match, need all the points they can muster if they are to avoid a wooden spoon finish for the first time in their illustrious history.