Extra Cover; One-day specialist on steep learning curve

A Week In Cricket
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MAN IN THE MIDDLE

Stuart Law (Essex)

Given the level of abuse readily hurled at English cricket by their countrymen, it is remarkable how little persuasion ambitious Australians need to play here, especially with a Test tour looming.

Certainly there was little need for arm-twisting on Essex's part to tempt Law to Chelmsford as a replacement for Mark Waugh. "Paul Prichard rang me and asked if I would be interested," Law said. "Interested? I told him it would be an honour to play for Essex. I've always wanted to try my luck in county cricket so it was an easy offer to accept."

The 27-year-old Queensland captain arrived with a reputation as a high class one-day player, having produced one of the innings of the World Cup to haul Australia to victory against West Indies in the semi-final, when his 72 helped overturn what had looked an impossible situation.

From four first-class matches for Essex he already has two centuries under his belt, including a superb 143 in the defeat of Hampshire at Southampton. He narrowly missed a third as Essex beat Worcestershire.

"I've had a reasonable start," he said, rather stating the obvious, although he expects the season may get harder. "I'm not used to playing on wickets that turn so much, so it is a learning curve for me.

"I have to adjust, too, to playing much more cricket than back home. Finishing one game, getting in the car and driving straight to the next is a lot different from an Australian season, when we might have two weeks to prepare for one match. I'm sure the way the game is structured here affects the quality.

"Having said that, I'm enjoying my cricket with Essex. They favour an aggressive approach and they try to win every game, which is how I like to play."

None of which will do him any harm in the pursuit of his primary goal in the game, which is to add substantially to the one appearance he has so far made at Test level. Law looks certain to be named for the one-day tournament in Sri Lanka to which his country is committed in August, and he is already looking ahead to next summer, when the Aussies tour here.

"What I'd really like is to come back and play against Essex for Australia," he said.

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