Jake Libby says Nottinghamshire are adopting a ‘one game at a time’ approach to the rest of the Specsavers County Championship season, as their quest to lift themselves away from the foot of the table continues with the visit of Surrey this weekend.
Notts have named a 14-man squad for the four-day clash, with Stuart Broad and Samit Patel returning to the party.
Full squad: Ravichandran Ashwin, Jake Ball, Stuart Broad, Matt Carter, Joe Clarke, Zak Chappell, Luke Fletcher, Jake Libby, Tom Moores, Steven Mullaney (c), Samit Patel, Liam Patterson-White, Ben Slater, Luke Wood.
With five games of the season to go, Notts occupy eighth spot in the standings, but still have two matches to come against sixth-placed Surrey and a home game against seventh-placed Warwickshire before the end of the campaign.
But the 26-year-old says the team can’t allow their thoughts to turn towards those late-season clashes just yet.
“We can’t hide from the fact that we need to get some points on the board,” said Libby.
“Realistically, we probably need to win three out of five to stay up, but we can’t look that far ahead.
“We’re taking this game in isolation – it’s a big game, but we still have belief in the changing room. We’re positive we can get a good result this weekend, and close the gap on those above us.”
Libby was recalled to the XI for Notts’ most recent game, as the green and golds suffered defeat to league leaders Somerset.
And although the result ultimately overshadowed his personal performance, the right-hander admitted he was happy to make a contribution in the first innings.
“It was a shame how the game went, especially as we were in the contest for long periods, but it was nice to get back in the team,” Libby continued.
“It’s been a frustrating summer so far, so to get back in and get a fifty was pleasing.”
A number of injury concerns in the match at Taunton led to the Notts batting order shaping up very differently in the second innings.
Tom Moores was promoted to number three, and was followed by Ravichandran Ashwin, with Ben Duckett having tweaked a hip flexor and Chris Nash having suffered a blow to the head in the first innings.
Both will miss this weekend’s game, but Libby said this could provide the opportunity for other players to step up and make an impact.
“The injuries and illnesses have forced us into some different line-ups every time, but it gives other players the chance to show what they can do,” said Libby.
“We saw with Liam [Patterson-White] this week how much of an impression players can make when they come into the side.
“He had a tough first couple of days [after falling ill with tonsillitis on day one], but to see him settle into the fixture on day three, take a five-fer and bowl so well was encouraging.
“I’ve seen him bowl like that in the twos for the last couple of years, so I wasn’t surprised that he came in and took his chance.”
A Notts Outlaws squad brimming with international talent will commence their T20 Vitality Blast campaign against Worcestershire Rapids at Trent Bridge on Thursday 18 July, with adult tickets priced at £10. Secure your seats…