(Photo: Getty Images)
By Andrew Lawton
SPINNER Nathan Sowter has a unique chance to learn from one of the best limited-overs bowlers in new Middlesex T20 coach Daniel Vettori – and he is convinced it will help him progress in four-day cricket, too.
The Australian leg-spinner, 24, returned to first-team action in the tied T20 Blast match against Gloucestershire last week, having missed the One-Day Cup with an ankle injury.
Sowter is yet to make a first-class appearance for Middlesex but hopes a good T20 campaign under the guidance of Vettori can be a springboard for his entire season. “It’s incredible to have him standing there watching and bouncing ideas around,” Sowter said. “It’s great to have access to some of his experience.
“I want to keep learning; talk with him about the game and you will learn something. I need to learn as much as I can for the short period he’s here and that will really help my cricket in the future I believe.
“I want to play first-class cricket and I was in the squad for the last County Championship game which was positive leading into the T20.
“You want to play at the highest level and test your skills out. I don’t want to be pigeon-holed. I want to play every format and if I can perform (in T20) I’ll get an opportunity.”
Vettori signed a three-year deal at Lord’s at the end of last year and brings a wealth of T20 knowledge through his coaching roles at Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash and IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The Kiwi won’t be in London long but Sowter claims the new mentality he has instilled was evident from Ryan Higgins’ 68 off 28 balls to earn a tie when Middlesex were 119-8 chasing 183 for victory against Gloucs.
“It’s a different way of looking at our t20 cricket,” he added. “He’s a good influence because he wants us to play exciting cricket, free and fearless.
“Ryan Higgins showed on Friday we won’t die wondering. We will go hard, no matter what happens, that’s how they want us to play and that will rub off on the players.
“They say they will back what we do and if we have questions to come and ask. The boys like that freedom to express themselves.
“I am sure there will be challenging moments when we look for Daniel and (team-mate) Brendon McCullum. It’s not going out and doing what you want but having a plan – and if you don’t they will help you with one.”
Vettori’s brief may be limited to the T20 side of things, but Sowter has already seen plenty to suggest his influence will be wide-ranging throughout Middlesex.
“I think it will help the club, it may take some pressure off the other coaches and let them work around the club and learn other things,” he added.
“It’s an opportunity for everyone in the club to learn. Everyone is buying in. Even if the coaches can maybe see more of the second team, it will be a positive influence across the club.”