As the news of the 2022 domestic schedule is digested, Nottinghamshire Assistant Head Coach Paul Franks is looking ahead to the summer with a typically bullish and determined attitude.
A trip to Hove to face Sussex is first on the agenda for the Green and Golds, commencing on the south coast on 7 April, and for Franks, the season opener cannot come fast enough.
“The first game of the season is something everyone looks forward to – coaches, players, and, most importantly, supporters. I’m sure a healthy number of them will make the trip if they can.
“Sussex are a team we’ve not played a lot of Championship cricket against in the recent past, and we’ll certainly be looking forward to going and getting stuck in.”
For a man born and bred in Nottinghamshire with 19 years under his belt as a player, Franks is perfectly placed to understand the importance of local rivalries to the club’s members and supporters.
Upon the fixtures being released, his eyes were immediately drawn to one set of clashes in particular: those with Derbyshire.
The Green and Golds will do battle with their local rivals on four occasions in competitive cricket throughout the upcoming summer, totalling ten days of action, with the first Championship fixture commencing at Trent Bridge on 19 May.
“I always look out for that game, that’s never changed,” said Franks. “They’ve had a bit of a turnover in terms of their coaching staff, they’ll be reinvigorated by Mickey Arthur and they’ll present a new challenge this year, so we’ll have to be ready for that.
“We always hope to perform to our best in every fixture, but in that one, it certainly tastes a bit better when you win and hurts a bit more when you lose.
“We’ll aim to hold the bragging rights on behalf of our members and supporters, so they can enjoy the banter with their Derbyshire counterparts.
“It’s our responsibility to make sure we put in some great performances during those ten days, and hopefully come out with four wins.”
Immediately after the first clash of the season with Derbyshire, the schedule dictates a change of pace for Notts, as the Outlaws get their T20 Blast campaign underway at home to Worcestershire. Franks has every confidence in the Outlaws’ white-ball abilities.
“We’re an excellent white-ball side, and we’ve known that for a while,” said the Assistant Head Coach. “We know we can beat the best in the country, and people view us as very strong in that format because of the players we have.
“When that time in the season comes round, we’ll be looking to get our players performing as well as they can, and to put bums on seats at Trent Bridge. There’s nothing quite like a great evening there watching some fantastic white-ball cricket.”
Following the first block of seven Blast fixtures, the Green and Golds then return to red-ball action, with five County Championship games scheduled across June and July. It’s a change for the game that Franks views positively.
“Hopefully it will produce some good contests,” he said. “We’re never quite sure with the British weather, which is always a variable and something we can’t control. But I feel that trying to spread the Championship over those peak months is the right thing to do.
“The Championship is the one that’s hardest to win. When you consider that you start in April and finish in September, it’s a test of your ability over the whole season.
“For the good of the game, more cricket in midsummer is ideal; we know we need to start well in April before looking to carry it on and finish strongly. That’s certainly what we’ll be looking to do.”
Nottinghamshire membership for the 2022 season is on sale now, with those who join our club bestowed access to all scheduled home domestic cricket alongside a plethora of additional perks.