MICHAEL Klinger is challenging Gloucestershire’s batsmen to stand up and be counted in tomorrow’s crunch Royal London Cup showdown against Lancashire at the Bristol County Ground (10.30am).
Gloucestershire may be well-placed to achieve a top-four finish in Group A and qualify for the quarter-finals in the 50-over competition after winning three of their opening five matches, but they
have yet to discover their very best form.
While skipper Klinger has been satisfied with his team’s performance with the ball and in the field in victories over Yorkshire, Hampshire and Leicestershire, he believes there is significant room for improvement with the bat.
“Our batting has not fired in any of the games we have played so far and that has been disappointing,” said the Australian.
“We’ve made a decent start and that is down to some excellent bowling and fielding.
“But we’ve not done well enough in the first 10 overs with the bat and our top order need to do better.
“If we can start building big partnerships and the top six make telling contributions then we will be really competitive.
“The fact there is still room for improvement and we have another 20 per cent to find is hugely encouraging.”
Given that Gloucestershire are still to negotiate potentially hazardous away games against Worcestershire (Wednesday) and Derbyshire (on August 21), their chances of making the last eight are heavily dependent upon defeating a Lancashire side that has lost four out of five games and is currently propping up the table.
The County are boosted by the return to fitness of experienced batsman Alex Gidman after a
back problem, but Klinger and director of cricket John Bracewell may opt to retain the side that beat Leicestershire by a convincing seven-wicket margin at Bristol last week.
Meanwhile, wicketkeeper Cameron Herring has been passed fit to resume playing duties after recovering from a broken finger.
Herring was named in Gloucestershire’s side for a second XI game against Sussex, which started at Hove today.
“I started keeping again in practice last week and now have a
month of the season left to make a mark,” said the Welshman, who
had a pin inserted in his broken finger.
"I’m itching to get started. I had been doing okay in the NatWest T20 Blast when the injury happened and it’s good to have got that experience under my belt.”