Steven Mullaney says Nottinghamshire’s cricketers have been searching their souls about what the club means to them, as they prepare to face Essex.
Mullaney’s men currently occupy bottom position in the Specsavers County Championship table.
And, although the Club Captain accepts that the Green & Golds have lots of work to do to turnaround their red-ball season, he’s determined to focus solely on the very next challenge.
A ten-day gap between fixtures has given Notts an opportunity to mentally and physically prepare for the challenge ahead, against an Essex side hot on the heels of Somerset at the summit of the table.
“We can’t look further than the first session here against Essex on Sunday,” said Mullaney.
“I’ve had a lot of time to think about how we are going to shape up and what the side is going to look like,
“We had a few days away from cricket, when the squad were in the gym and things like that - and I think it’s been really important for everyone to really think about what this Club means to them, because we haven’t done it justice so far this season.
“We’re a Division One club and we pride ourselves on that. Something needs to change quickly to be in that Division One next year.”
With James Pattinson having joined up with Australia A, Indian international off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is set for his Nottinghamshire debut.
Stuart Broad, Matthew Carter, Jake Libby and Luke Wood also come into contention having not featured against Kent.
Nottinghamshire squad to face Essex (from): Ravichandran Ashwin, Jake Ball, Stuart Broad, Matthew Carter, Joe Clarke, Ben Duckett, Luke Fletcher, Jake Libby, Tom Moores, Steven Mullaney (captain), Chris Nash, Samit Patel, Ben Slater and Luke Wood.
Captain Mullaney intends to make the most of his new overseas recruit, both as a prize asset with bat and ball and as a mentor to the club’s young players.
“He brings a wealth of world-class experience - both on and off the field - and I think he will be great for our spin bowlers in the squad, especially Matt Carter," he said.
“Ultimately, we’ve signed him because he is world-class batter and bowler.
“Hopefully he can score some runs when he bats and, when we put some runs on the board, he can exploit conditions towards the end of days three and four and we can use spin to our advantage.”
Sunday’s fixture amounts to a homecoming of sorts for the Nottinghamshire team, who haven’t played a fixture at Trent Bridge in any format since Sunday 12 May and haven’t been in four-day action at the historic venue since mid-April.
Mullaney admits there’s no place like home.
“We can’t wait. It’s been nice to get back in the dressing rooms and back to some training, which has been tough work but really good,” he said.
“The lads have worked really hard. Now it’s about taking that into the game.
“Obviously, we love playing at Trent Bridge. We’ve been away for a long time.
“We’ve been on the road and we’ve not played as well as we should or could have done.
“We’re determined to change that heading into the second half of the Championship campaign.”
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…