Nottinghamshire ready for must-win match against Middlesex

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Nottinghamshire are in red ball action again this week when they host Middlesex in their final home Specsavers County Championship match of the season.

With only a trip to Taunton to come afterwards, to face Somerset in the season finale, the Trent Bridge side have plenty of work to do if they are to give themselves a realistic chance of remaining in Division One.

Mick Newell’s side go into these two closing matches at the foot of the table and 33 points away from safety. With 48 points still to play for, the director of cricket knows it will be hard but is confident his side will put up a good performance against the current leaders.

“Middlesex have got to win, we’ve got to win, so it should be an entertaining game over all four days,” said Newell. “Then we’ve got Somerset away, where there have hardly been any draws down there, so we’ve got to come out on the right side of two results.

“We’ve got to give everything we’ve got. The players are trying their hardest, there’s no doubt about that, so we’ve just got to give it a go.”

Newell has always believed that over the course of a tough, long season, the table doesn’t lie. So does he believe that Middlesex are worthy leaders, albeit with Yorkshire breathing down their necks?

“Definitely,” he responded. “I think they have played very well. They have had a lot of draws at Lords, on some pretty flat batting pitches but when they have had a chance to win they have gone and won games.

“They’ve got a varied attack, they’ve got good seamers and spinners and it’s an experienced team right across the whole group, so over 16 matches you get what you deserve.”

One member of the Notts side who will be coming up against his former team this week is Imran Tahir, although it is so long ago since he made his debut in English cricket, he struggles to remember it.

In 2003, the young leg spinner played three county championship and three one day matches for the London side.

“I played for them so long ago I can’t even remember,” he laughed. “It was my first stint with an English county. It was good but a little bit tough for me because it was early season.

“I only played a handful of games for Middlesex but I’m very much looking forward to playing against them this week. When I played, it was at the time of Andrew Strauss and Owais Shah and a few others but I don’t think there is anyone around at the club that I played with any more.”

The opposition will also have a player coming up against his former side. James Franklin played for Notts in 2014, briefly across all three formats. Mick Newell admitted he will be one to look out for this week.

“James is a lovely fella, a good guy and a good cricketer for them. In amongst their squad they’ve got a lot of experience players and James is definitely one of the most experienced.”