Eye on the County Championship: Monster-hitting Scott Styris aims for the pub while Charlie Shreck gets the beers in
Sunday 18 May 2014
Everyone remembers Scott Styris hitting that Twenty20 hundred off 37 balls for Sussex a couple of years ago, so when we found out he would be playing for us this year we knew he'd be a great signing, and he showed that straight away when we beat Derbyshire in our first Twenty20 game on Friday night. It wasn't the biggest innings of the night. Marcus North hit 90 off 47 balls for Derbyshire and, to be fair, he was amazing to watch. Everything he hit seemed to go out the ground.
But Scott hit 63 off 31 balls and it was that innings that gave us a score we could defend. I was at the other end for a few overs and it was an education to play alongside him. He hit one monster shot to the left of the pavilion that went over the pub outside the ground; it must have travelled 100 metres at least.
But it was the way he talks you through your innings, too, reminding you to keep calm and be patient, pick your bowlers, take the runs on offer but don't panic and go too soon. He's got so much experience.
Twenty20 this year is going to be different with the new format and there might be a few teething troubles trying to fit in the preparation around the four-day cricket.
Whereas previously you could concentrate on Twenty20 for maybe six weeks in the middle of the summer, now we have a situation where we go from Twenty20 on Friday into a four-day game starting today.
We really do feel that elusive win in the Championship is just around the corner. We've got runs on the board and been in good positions in all our three games so far without quite getting over the line.
We've had three guys get hundreds so far, including my first one of the season against Essex, and, I think, four career-bests, including Gus Robson's 94 and Nathan Buck's five for 76 in the previous game against Essex.
And then there's been Charlie Shreck, who has twice bettered his previous best with the bat. Charlie is a mad fast bowler who joined us with a career batting average of about five and a highest score of 19, but in three Championship innings for us he has hit 18 not out, 31 and 23. We've been geeing him up to chance his arm and he just tries to hit the ball as far as he can. It's been very entertaining.
At Leicester we have a rule that if you have a career-best you have to buy the rest of the team a drink in the pavilion bar, so we've managed to get a couple of beers out of him too.
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