Eye on the County Championship: Harry Gurney's game has amazed us – sometimes he's like Freddie Flintoff

 

Seeing my team-mate Harry Gurney's name in the England ODI squad didn't surprise me at all but it goes to show that you don't always know where the future will lead. When he joined us from Leicestershire a couple of seasons ago he wasn't getting in their side for four-day cricket and I didn't really understand why we'd signed him, if I'm honest.

But no one has come on more in the last couple of years. He's been our best bowler in white-ball cricket and his red-ball game has really kicked on. He bowled an over to Ian Bell the other day that was unbelievable. It reminded me of Freddie Flintoff bowling at Ricky Ponting in the Ashes in 2005 and I'm not exaggerating. He played and missed three times before he nicked off. It was genius cricket.

Off the field, he fits in to our dressing room really well. He has a degree in economics so, as you'd expect, he's quite clever, and he's got a dry sense of humour. It took him a while to settle in. He was quite quiet at first but most of us are to begin with.

I know I was pretty star struck when I first came into the side. Graeme Swann was around, Stuart Broad had just started his England career, there was Ryan Sidebottom, Mark Ealham, Chris Read, David Hussey, Adam Voges. It was unreal, crazy. I couldn't believe I was playing.

And I hadn't come into cricket by the usual way, through the academy. At the school I went to in Bulwell, the part of Nottingham where I grew up, we just played football. People thought of cricket as a posh lads' sport. I'd never played until I was about 13 when a mate asked me if I fancied a game at his club. I took to it like a natural but I didn't think about being a cricketer.

Then Phil DeFreitas came to play for my club side at Papplewick and Linby. He was the Notts bowling coach at the time and recommended me.

I played some Second XI games and they asked me if I'd come in during the winter to work on my fitness. I had a job frying chicken in a fast-food restaurant and I told them if I gave that up I'd have no income, so they gave me a job on the gates at Trent Bridge. I'd do that from 7.30 in the morning till one o'clock and train after that.

I still love club cricket and play in the Notts Premier League when I can. It's about the only chance I get to have a bat. I like the social side, too, although you have to make sacrifices. I'm 25 now and I want to do well for Notts so the days of going out drinking have gone.

Luke Fletcher plays for Nottinghamshire

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