After securing their place in the knockout stages of the T20 Blast, there’s no rest for Nottinghamshire as they turn their attention back to County Championship action.
Notts face a trip down to Hampshire, starting tomorrow, for the return of the four-day game.
It will be a quick change between the formats following the Outlaws' eight-wicket victory over Yorkshire Vikings, but Head Coach Peter Moores hopes that his side can hit the ground running and transition quickly back into the red ball mindset.
“We look forward to the challenge, it’s part of what County Championship cricket is all about and the sides that do it better and quicker than the others will get away faster so that’s what we’re hoping for us,” he said.
“It’s tough but I think it’s probably tougher for batsman than bowlers.
“I think it changes a little bit for the bowlers with a red ball to a white ball; for the batsman the tempo changes but most people set the games up with a technique that will work across all three formats.”
Notts’ batting line up received a welcome boost this week with the signing of West Indian Kraigg Brathwaite as the county’s overseas player for the tail end of the County Championship campaign.
The top order batsman has already joined up with the Notts squad and Moores is hoping the right-hander’s wealth of experience will benefit the team.
“He seems a really nice guy, he’s an experienced cricketer now having played in nearly 50 Test matches now so we’re really looking forward to getting him out there,” he said.
“It’ll bolster our batting a bit; it’s an area we’ve been looking to strengthen all season, so we’re excited for him to come and play in what is a big part of the season.”
Another welcome addition to the batting line up comes in Chris Nash’s return from injury.
The 35-year-old damaged his right acromioclavicular joint after landing awkwardly on his shoulder during the Outlaws opening T20 game against Birmingham Bears at the start of July.
But after playing for Notts Seconds in their victory over Yorkshire last week, Nash is back fit and raring to go.
“Chris has come back in and is very determined to finish strong,” said Moores.
“He had a tough first part of the season; he found some form getting his hundred, captaining when Steven Mullaney was away, so it’s an exciting time for him to be back fit.
“He’s still got some challenges with throwing, but that will be something he’ll work through, but batting wise he looks absolutely great.”
With the return of Nash and the addition of Brathwaite, Notts will be hoping to put away the demons that plagued the first half of the County Championship campaign.
But Moores was also keen to highlight the form of his batsman in the latter stages of the T20 competition following impressive displays against Yorkshire and Worcestershire, with the Head Coach believing that his side can carry the confidence over into the longer format of the game.
“The key for batters is to be in form,” he said.
“A lot of the game is about confidence but to be getting runs in any form of the game is important, so for someone like Jake Libby who’s been having a good time in the T20s, I think people often take that form across formats and that will be important for us.
“Hampshire’s a big game for us, it’s a chance for us to try and go away from home and try and get ourselves right back to where we want to be and start competing at the top of that division.”
A good start to life back in Division One saw Notts claim four wins, four losses and a draw in the County Championship so far leaving them third in the table behind Surrey and Somerset.
With that in mind you’d be forgiven for thinking that Moores and the rest of the squad will be looking to challenge the top two, but the coach knows that they have to deal with the task in hand.
“At the moment in some ways it’s there for Surrey to lose,” he said.
“They’ve played some really good cricket, but we don’t really worry too much about that as we’ve got Hampshire in front of us.
“Whatever we do first we’ll have our goals; we’ll try to build partnerships with the bat to try and post a competitive score and with the ball we know we’ve got people who can take wickets.
“That’ll be a tough game and we then go into three championship games that all come pretty thick and fast so it’ll be a case of getting your head down into red ball stuff, play some good, solid cricket and keep ourselves at the top of that division.”
Three of the remaining five red ball fixtures will take place at Trent Bridge in front of a home crowd and Moores thinks that could give his side an edge heading into the business end of the season.
“It’s a great chance to finish strong and it’s a bit of a bonus for us after being away so much at the start of the season due to the development work going on with the new stand, so that’s a nice way for us to finish,” he said.
“We’d love to play some good cricket in front of our home fans so that’ll be a goal for us at the end of the season.”
Tom Moores will miss the trip to Hampshire through injury with Riki Wessels set to take over the gloves in the absence of the 21-year-olds, whilst Notts welcome back seamer Luke Wood from a successful loan spell at Worcestershire.
Jake Ball remains on the sidelines with an abdominal strain.
Nottinghamshire squad to face Hampshire (from): Jake Libby, Chris Nash, Steven Mullaney (c), Mark Footitt, Riki Wessels (wk), Harry Gurney, Luke Wood, Matt Milnes, Luke Fletcher, Matt Carter, Samit Patel, Will Fraine, Billy Root and Kraigg Brathwaite.
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