Nottinghamshire off-spinner Matthew Carter has admitted his ten-wicket heroics on First-Class debut in 2015 came as both a blessing and a curse.
Almost three-and-a-half years on from his memorable debut in Taunton, Carter recently earned England Lions selection for the first time.
Despite being only 16 matches into his senior county career, the 22-year-old is set to feature on the limited-overs leg of the tour of India in the New Year.
Although the call-up came as a shock to Carter, it will surprise nobody that watched the tall twirler bamboozle his way through the Somerset batting line-up on 15 June 2015.
“I was with Lincolnshire all the way through, then one season Paul Franks asked me to come over to Nottinghamshire and play some Second XI cricket,” recalls Carter.
“I actually made my First-Class debut before I’d signed a professional contract. To get all those wickets in my first appearance was pleasing.
“It meant I knew straight away that I could perform at that standard. But then the pressure was on to keep showing what I could do.”
Three seasons later, Carter was making another debut. This time in 50-over cricket against Warwickshire, and with 14-and-a-half thousand people in the ground. He took 4-40.
“My first game of last season was Family Fun Day and that was perfect for me because I play a lot better when I’m under pressure,” he adds. “The massive crowd put me in my element.
“It was a dream start getting four wickets that day – and then getting four again two matches later. Then it was about being able to back it up constantly.”
Carter did. He finished the competition with 13 wickets in five matches at an average of 15 - and an economy rate of just 4.6 runs-per-over.
It’s something he’s desperate to continue in 2019 - and finding a way to regularly take wickets at Trent Bridge is very much part of that equation.
“It’s being able to know when to attack and when to defend,” he says. “It doesn’t spin a lot at Trent Bridge, so you can’t go all guns blazing and attack from ball one.
“You’ve got to be able to set your fields right for the pitch and match situation. Changes of pace are the key, and thinking about being one step ahead of the batter.
“I want to play as much First-Class, one-day and 20-over cricket as I can in 2019. With the 50-over competition being earlier this year, hopefully that means I’ll get a look-in from right at the start of the campaign.”
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