Steven Mullaney feels a ten-day break from first-team action has proven positive for his Nottinghamshire side, as they head to Edgbaston to take on Warwickshire tomorrow.
Notts have named a 13-man squad for the fixture; Zak Chappell and Paul Coughlin are unavailable through injury, but James Pattinson has returned to the party.
Nottinghamshire squad: Jake Ball, Stuart Broad, Matthew Carter, Joe Clarke, Ben Duckett, Luke Fletcher, Jake Libby, Tom Moores, Steven Mullaney (c), Chris Nash, Samit Patel, James Pattinson, Ben Slater.
Pattinson takes his place in a County Championship squad for the first time in two years, after the Aussie paceman missed the last three games through injury.
“Patto hasn’t played for a while, so he might need a bit of time to get his ‘game intensity’ back, but he’s one of the best in the world at what he does.
“There’s no doubt his return will lift us as a side.”
The hiatus in Notts’ season came after a congested opening two months of first-class and List A cricket, culminating in defeat to Hampshire on the Isle of Wight.
And the skipper feels he can already see that his side have benefitted from the time away from competitive cricket.
“It was a good time to be able to take a break and take some time to reflect in a different environment,” said Mullaney.
“When we got back on Thursday we were raring to go, and we’ve had a really good few days of preparation at Lady Bay this week.”
The spell away from Trent Bridge gave Mullaney time to consider where the games against Hampshire and Essex went awry.
And it was Notts’ last fixture at Newclose which frustrated the right-hander the most.
“The game on the Isle of Wight was the more disappointing one.
“Against Essex we built a couple of partnerships but weren’t able to follow them up, but I think if we’d have got past 200 in the second innings we’d have had something to bowl at in the chase.
“We were all up for the game on the Isle of Wight, but the partnership they had on the morning of day three [Sam Northeast and Ajinkya Rahane put on 257 for the third wicket] was key.
“Fletcher and Broad bowled well, but we didn’t back them up well enough.
“We’re under no illusions, though, that our first innings batting hasn’t been good enough. We need to start building big totals.”
Warwickshire head into the game having defeated last year’s champions Surrey handsomely in their last game, sending Notts to the bottom of the Division One table.
And Mullaney is aware of the dangers that lurk at Edgbaston.
“We know Jeetan Patel is always a massive player for them, and Dominic Sibley’s had a good year as well.
“But we’re not focussing too much on the opposition – what we’ve always done well as a side is focussed on ourselves."
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 advance tickets priced at £10 for adults and £5 for under 16s. Secure your seats here…