By Matthew Fisher
We have been there and thereabouts in the Royal London One-Day Cup for the last few years, reaching quarter-finals and semi-finals without taking that extra step. Hopefully this can be our year.
In my view, we need to be a bit better as a bowling unit. We have been knocked out in the last two years by Surrey, who have been a step ahead of us with things like executing at the death.
If we want to win it, that’s one area we’ve got to nail week in and week out.
A lot of that comes with consistency of players. That might be quite tough in the first few games this summer because there may be a couple of lads resting, and Liam and Dave might come back from the IPL. But, hopefully, lads who are around, we can find that consistency to make it easier for Galey and not just bowl well one match and not the next.
Another factor in winning the big games is to embrace them.
You hear it a lot in all sports, ‘It’s just another game’. But I don’t see anything wrong in treating it differently and hyping it up. It’s nice to feel like you’re in a big game and to have it talked up. Personally, I feel that kind of thing brings the best out in me. I’m sure it’s the case with a lot of other lads as well.
If things go well for me with my recovery from the side injury I suffered late in pre-season, I will be ready for the third game next Wednesday and available for selection.
The plan is to play Saturday club cricket as a bowler and then in the second-team on Monday. If I get through those, I should be ready.
I have been playing for Sheriff Hutton Bridge and Yorkshire seconds as a batsman during the last fortnight or so, and I got 77 in the league on Saturday and 84 for the seconds against Durham last week.
It’s been great being back out on the field again, I’ve absolutely loved it, and quite nice just to concentrate on my batting, which should help me in the future.
There is no doubt that one-day cricket is back in fashion again in this country, and it’s largely down to the way England have been playing.
After that World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, it’s been made quite public that Andrew Strauss and everyone at the ECB want to win next year’s World Cup, which we haven’t done before. The way everyone is playing, it looks like we could be favourites.
The sky’s the limit with what people can achieve in this format, with the shots played and the balls bowled. There’s a lot of invention.
When I started playing, the county competition was 40 overs, and there weren’t many who were keen on it. It was a case of ‘Why are we playing this when England are playing 50 overs?’ It didn’t seem very relevant. I actually feel it’s quite similar with this 100-ball competition that’s being talked about now.
With the 40 overs stuff, 10 overs may not seem a massive difference, but it got played in such a different way. Openers played it differently and guys in the middle order didn’t get as much time at the crease. It’s good that they’ve changed it back.
Going back to England’s style of play. Before the North South series in Barbados in March, we as players got the outlined plan of how England are going about their cricket. The general gist was about putting teams under pressure with bat, ball and in the field, running hard, etc. Always take the aggressive option. That was the simple message and reiterated to us.
We also had individual meetings for 15 minutes with Andrew Strauss, Mick Newell and Angus Fraser where we were asked about the 2019 World Cup and why we maybe should be selected.
It was for us to chat through our situation or push our case. It wasn’t just about that, it was getting to know their players, which is extremely good management.
I went in and just spoke through my career and the achievements at the ages I’ve done them. I outlined my injuries as well. I made the point that I didn’t feel my growth as a player had been stunted by form, it was injury.
I put my case forward that I’m such a young lad who has achieved a decent amount without playing a lot of games. I think I have a pretty good story to tell.
I just said ‘I need a run of games and feel like I can progress quickly if that happens’.
I kind of flipped it on its head as well. I said ‘I don’t think the best thing for English Cricket is seeing Matthew Fisher playing at the 2019 World Cup, it’s in two or three years with a lot of games under my belt’.
The way the England lads are playing at the minute, I feel like I’m a bit off that. But I’m very confident of matching it in time.
I wasn’t going to go in and say ‘I’m better than him, him and him’. That’s not me as a person. I am realistic.
They also asked whether I saw myself as a one-day or Test cricketer first or second. I said ‘I feel more confident with the red ball at the moment, but you never know. I could have a great white ball season and not play much Championship cricket, and then you start thinking differently’.
It’s important for me to keep training hard at both and see where it takes me.