It’s been very nice to hit the season running. I had a great winter in Melbourne where I really benefitted from having time to gain some extra clarity regarding my own game and being totally self-sufficient in terms of my development for a few months, writes George Garton.
Since then I’ve enjoyed a full pre-season with the tour to Cape Town and the matches back here in the UK.
I feel I’m seeing the benefits of that and carrying some good form into the start of the season. With the ball, I’m getting good consistency and rhythm in red-ball cricket and after that winter of working out exactly what sort of bowler I want to be in one-day cricket, I feel I am back to playing the way I want to play.
Previously I was used most often in the middle overs of a 50-over innings, but I’m back to bowling aggressively during the first power-play, forcing batsmen to play shots they don’t feel comfortable playing and I’ve been seeing good results on tour and in the early-season 2nd XI matches.
The Royal London One-Day Cup starts this week, and while selection is never guaranteed, I feel that 50-over cricket is my strongest format and that I’d be ready to perform for the team if I’m picked. One of the great things about Sussex is how much competition there is for places, and that pushes us all to become better players in all disciplines.
My batting is going well and hopefully that is something in my favour when it comes to selecting the one-day side. I’m hitting the ball cleanly and it’s been really enjoyable to have had the opportunity for some significant time in the middle so far this year.
I scored a hundred against Durham University in South Africa and then another against slightly stronger opposition during a second XI one-day game against Middlesex last week, so I feel I have made the most of batting higher in the order.
During the first two years of my professional career, people’s focus was definitely on my bowling. I think that comes with being a naturally quick left-armer and was something reinforced by my role when I was playing in the first team.
I was batting at ten or 11 and, understandably, you then are getting less net time. Inevitably, you end up spending more time working on your bowling.
But throughout school and age-group cricket, and even when I first signed a contract with Sussex aged 18, I was considered – and absolutely considered myself – an all-rounder.
I’ve had a conversation with Dizzy about my role in the squad and he agrees that batting is a big part of my game and I’ve worked really hard with Mike Yardy, who has been a big help with loads of ideas, not to mention countless throwdowns.
That support from the coaching staff over the past season and a half has really helped me get back on track with my aim of being a genuine all-rounder.
I’ve seen some good signs already in tour games and with the seconds and hopefully, when opportunities arise in the first team, I can perform for the team with both the ball and the bat.
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