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AOC Interview: Tim Murtagh

In the latest issue of All Out Cricket – in shops on December 1 – Tim Murtagh speaks to Jon Waring about Middlesex’s revival that has seen them return to county cricket’s top table.

Unsurprisingly the seasoned paceman had plenty to say on the subject but try as we might we couldn’t squeeze it all into our three-page feature, which also features interviews with managing director of cricket Angus Fraser and up-and-coming paceman Toby Roland-Jones. Here’s some stuff that didn’t quite make the final cut.

You moved from Surrey to Middlesex in 2007. How do the two clubs compare?
Both London clubs have great tradition and history and up until this season both had underachieved over the last four or five years. Surrey has a massive backroom section, so the business and marketing side of things is huge, whereas Middlesex has a lot fewer staff who work their nuts off. It feels like more of a close-knit community at Middlesex, where everyone knows each other well. When I was at Surrey the business and playing sides rarely mixed. Middlesex are a family where everyone works very hard and everyone is a genuine supporter.

Were you surprised at how well the club performed last season?
We’d had three or four years of underachieving and it was made clear to us at the start of the season that promotion into the first division was a massive priority. The club is very focused on achieving success and while it might have surprised some people, we were always confident in our ability. It’s what Gus wanted, it’s what the members wanted, and we did very well to deliver it. We had a great start to the season and that set us up for the rest of the summer.

There’s still room for improvement though?
Obviously winning Division Two was a brilliant achievement but overall we were pretty disappointing in the limited-overs format. In the T20 competition we were terrible, we were never in it, we lost the first few games and once we got on a bad roll it was tough for us to get out of it. We were very average and that is something that the management will want to address and improve on for next season because it’s a major tournament and a huge prize to win. We played some really good cricket in the CB40 and we were unlucky to not make the semi-final, and from there anything can happen because it’s knockout cricket.

What goals have the team set for next season?
We haven’t set any goals yet. We had a chat at the end of the season, which was a bit strange because we’d won the Championship and just a few days later we were looking ahead to next year and how we could get better. People say it will be a lot better standard but I think if we play the same cricket that we did this year then we will be competitive in the first division. We’re not going up fearing anyone because if we play consistently well like we did last season then we will be competitive, and you never know what might happen over the course of the season.

So it’s not just a case of survival?
As a promoted club your immediate goal is to try and stay up and teams historically in the past few years have gone up and come straight back down and found it tough to establish themselves. I suppose you don’t want to get too carried away and say we’ll go up and challenge for the title straight away, but we need to make sure we stay in that division and we’ll only do that by winning games and playing positive cricket, which we fully intend to do.

Click here to read excerpts from Jon Waring’s interview with Angus Fraser.

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