It’s a long time before any prizes are handed out in this domestic county cricket season, but Nottinghamshire’s Captain and Head Coach already believe they’re ahead of the game with three early victories and top spot in the Division One table.
Beginning the season with a block of five consecutive matches in the Specsavers County Championship, the duo decided to set the team a challenge.
“We have set small targets,” revealed Steven Mullaney, the man leading the side following the retirement of Chris Read.
“We’ve broken the season down and looked at these first five matches as a mini-series. We’re currently 3-1 up, with one to play – but now we have to push to try and make it 4-1 against Lancashire on Friday.”
Peter Moores, who led the side to two white ball trophies and a promotion in his first season last summer, also confirmed that there would be no relaxing now.
“Yes, we’ve won this series, which was our first goal,” he said. “It’s nice to package things up in little ways but we’re now targeting the next match and that’s at home, which is important.
“But we’ll have to play well because Lancashire have steadily got better. They seem like they have really got going now.”
Notts got the better of the Red Rose County when the two sides met at Old Trafford in early April.
“We’ve broken the season down and looked at these first five matches as a mini-series. We’re currently 3-1 up, with one to play.”
The final morning delivered an extraordinary passage of play when a total of 12 wickets fell during an astonishing period in which only 25 runs were scored.
Mullaney, who began his career with Lancashire, is relishing the prospect of another meeting against his home county.
“They’ll go into this game off the back of a good draw at home to Somerset and they’ll have James Anderson playing, so we’re under no illusions.
“I know it’s a cliché, but it’s still early in the season and we’ll take each game as it comes. If we keep doing that and keep playing good cricket it will stand us in good stead for the rest of the summer.”
The 31-year old has taken well to the demands of captaincy but had struggled for runs, before hitting a century in the recent victory over Hampshire.
He added: “I feel like I’ve been playing nicely and preparing well, but now I’m a little bit older and a bit wiser and I know how to deal with things if I get a few low scores. I just continue to do the same things.
“It was nice to spend some time in the middle and get a hundred though!”
Mullaney has had a slight side strain, which has prevented him from bowling in the last three outings but he confirmed he expects to be fit enough to bowl again this week, if necessary.
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