Neil Dexter emerged on the county scene as another of Kent’s Kolpak-qualified South African contingent in the Summer of 2005. A batting allrounder of considerable talent, he made an instant impact, hitting 79* on debut against Nottinghamshire. Towards the end of the 2008 season, he turned down a three-year contract with the county and signed for Middlesex. His Middlesex debut came in the infamous Stanford Super Series in the Caribbean, but Dexter showed he had the talent for four-day cricket too as he averaged 41.70 with the bat in 2009 and an even more impressive 47.73 in 2010. Around him, Middlesex were struggling, however, and when Shaun Udal resigned from the captaincy early in 2010 the position eventually landed in Dexter’s hands. Alongside the thoughtful guidance of Angus Fraser as cricket director, Dexter led Middlesex to the Division Two title in 2011. Early in the 2012 season, he relinquished the captaincy to concentrate on regaining his consistent batting form. Sam Collins 2012
A bustling brisk seam bowler, Gareth Berg learned his cricket in South Africa, playing a handful of one-day games for Western Province B, before moving to live in England. In 2004 he played for Northamptonshire 2nd XI without breaking into the first team, and in 2007 was signed for Middlesex, again turning out for the 2nd XI. In the 2008 pre-season he took five wickets against England Under-19 on his home ground at Radlett, gaining him his first team debut. His game has developed with age and in 2011 his allround ability helped Middlesex win promotion as averaged 41.87 with the bat and 19.96 with the ball. Despite his ancestry, he is not a Kolpak player because of his long-term residency in England.
Barely fast-medium, averaging in the mid to high 70s, Corey Collymore is a fairly accurate and aggressive, with the benefit of years of experience. His sprint to the crease is reminiscent of Malcolm Marshall’s, but, unlike Marshall, his open-chested deliveries seem to limit his ability to move the ball away from the right-hander. His misfortune has been the plague of modern fast bowlers: stress fractures. Yet he is a determined man, who recovered from back injuries when critics had written him off at the end of West Indies’ tour of England in 2000, and thus fulfilled his promise to be back in the game. He took four wickets on his return to the one-day side in Zimbabwe in 2001, as West Indies beat India in the final of the Coca-Cola Cup, and after a moderately successful World Cup in 2003, he was recalled to the Test team for the home series against Sri Lanka. He responded with five wickets in the drawn first Test, and a second-innings haul of 7 for 57 in the second, as West Indies sealed a seven-wicket victory. From there on, he was shunted in and out of the squad, before being included half-way through the Test series for his experience. He shared the new ball with younger speed merchants, and though he put the ball in the right place, his inability to put fear in the hearts of batsmen meant that he was expensive and ineffective on the tour to England. Against India at home in 2006, however, Collymore pegged away all through the series, providing a valuable tourniquet at one end. He was way ahead of the other fast bowlers in terms of his economy-rate (2.33) and always appeared capable of taking a wicket. His spell on the first morning at Antigua floored India and, despite not looking fully fit, maintained his accuracy throughout. He played only eight international games in the 2006-07 season and averaged over 30 but just ahead of the selection for World Cup he rocked Jamaica with a six-for in the Carib series. He failed to carry that form into the tournament itself but still found himself briefly in the top 10 of the ICC Test rankings. In 2008, he replaced Ryan Harris at Sussex, joining the club as a Kolpak and he performed with distinction on the south coast before moving to Middlesex at the end of the 2010 season. Vaneisa Baksh
An Australian-born skiddy seam bowler and hard-hitting lower-order batsmen, Steven Crook started his first-class career at Lancashire but had limited chances to show his worth. After a loan move to Northamptonshire at the end of the 2005 season, he made it a permanent switch for 2006 where he has earned greater chances in the one-day arena. Injury has ravaged much of his time at Northants but he has found other outlets to express himself: he is lead singer of the band Juliet the Sun. At the end of the 2011 season he was released by Northants but signed for Middlesex. Sam Collins
Josh Davey is a Scotland international and Middlesex batting allrounder. He made his Scotland debut as a 19-year-old in 2010, opening the batting in an ODI against Netherlands having made his first-team Middlesex debut earlier in the summer. His start to first-class cricket was a pair of fifties against Oxford MCCU. Despite having played CB40 cricket for Middlesex he represents Scotland in the tournament normally. Despite being predominantly a top-order batsman Davey possesses the best ODI figures for Scotland – 5 for 9 – which he picked up against Afghanistan in his fourth ODI.
Joe Denly is gifted top-order batsman who he flirted with international cricket without ever convincing. A product of the Kent youth system, having been with the county since the age of 13, he made his debut in 2004 against Oxford University. He served notice of his considerable talent with three half centuries in three Tests whilst touring India with England Under-19 in 2005. He captained both Kent Second XI and the ECB Development of Excellence XI team, and scored his maiden first-class hundred against Cambridge University in 2006. The release of David Fulton opened up a place in the Kent top order, which Denly took with both hands during the first part of the 2007 season. His prolific form caught the eye of England’s selectors and he was named in the England Lions side to face India. The 2008 summer again kept him in the frame, especially in one-day cricket, where he enjoyed an impressive Twenty20 tournament. But it was in 2009, after averaging 51.85 in the Friends Provident Trophy, that Denly got his international call-up – the one-day squad to play Australia. He had his moments opening the batting but struggled for consistency and, like many before him, then suffered a lengthy domestic slump and was pushed out of national contention. At one stage he went nearly two years without a Championship hundred. Sensing a need to revive his career he left Kent at the end of 2011 and moved to Middlesex. Sam Collins May 2011
Anthony Ireland is a tall fast-medium seamer from the Midlands area of Zimbabwe. After some opportunities at junior levels, Ireland decided to improve his game in club cricket in England, and after the player rebellion of 2004 was given more opportunities to perform in Logan Cup cricket, and was included in the national team squad the following year. He struggled on his first tour, to West Indies, breaking his left hand in practice at the start of the programme. When he recovered, he struggled with his length and tended to bowl too short, which proved fatal against batsmen as adept with the pull as most West Indians. He secured a more regular place at the end of 2006 and was included in Zimbabwe’s World Cup squad, although he made only one appearance. To the chagrin of many in Zimbabwe cricket circles, he retired from international cricket on the team’s return home, and soon after signed a two-year deal with Gloucestershire. While he enjoyed moderate success with the county, it surprised many when he returned to play in Zimbabwe’s revamped domestic Twenty20 competition in February 2010. It remains to be seen whether a comeback to the national side is a possibility, but his county career took him to Middlesex after the 2010 season where, among a strong group of pacemen, he hasn’t been able to nail down regular first-team cricket. Steven Price
Middlesex’s Adam London had his first taste of Ashes cricket aged 21, as a substitute fielder for Kevin Pietersen in the second day at Lord’s in 2009. He is a left-handed batsman who graduated through Middlesex’s youth system and is described by Middlesex’s director of cricket, Angus Fraser, as a “ a committed, capable and exciting young cricketer.” He made his Championship debut against Gloucestershire in 2009 but is yet to command a regular first-team place.
Dawid Malan is a gifted, aggressive left-handed batsman who is yet to fulfil his early promise. Born in Roehampton but brought up in South Africa, he made his first-class debut for Boland in 2005-06. In 2006 he played Second XI cricket for both Middlesex and Worcestershire, making his first-team debut for Middlesex in front of 20,000 people in a Twenty20 Cup match at The Oval. He struggled to find a first-team spot the following season, but in 2008 took his chance with both hands. An impressive run in the Twenty20 earned him a place in the Championship side, where he scored his maiden century against Northamptonshire. However, it was back in Twenty20 where he really put his marker down with a breathtaking 103 off 51 balls in the quarter-final against Lancashire, an innings that helped cement his place in the England Performance Squad in November. However, as so often happens he struggled to back-up that season and 2009 was a tough campaign form him and he is yet to re-establish his credentials.
Eoin Morgan is an Irish-born Englishman with a reputation for inventive and audacious strokeplay. At the age of 23, he shot to prominence on the back of two match-winning innings against South Africa. First was a 34-ball 67 in the Champions Trophy in September 2009 which he followed two months later with an unbeaten 45-ball 85 in the opening Twenty20 of England’s tour of South Africa. His bold approach and crisp hitting was reminiscent of the arrival of another English import, Kevin Pietersen, in 2005. With a blend of nous and power, Morgan looks a natural “finisher” – a role England have struggled to fill for a decade.
A compact left-hander, Morgan grew up playing hurling and with his sweeps and pulls, he has clearly taken aspects of the Irish sport into his cricket. He gained initial recognition with Ireland, averaging 52.20 in the World Cricket League, including his first ODI century, a sublime 115 from 106 balls against Canada. In the 2007 World Cup, as his team-mates impressed, Morgan disappointed with 91 runs from nine games. He joined his fellow Anglo-Irishman, Ed Joyce, at Middlesex in 2006, where he helped them to the Twenty20 Cup victory in 2008 and caught the eye of the England selectors.
His growing stature was confirmed when he was the only England player to be awarded a new contract at the auction for the third season of the IPL in January 2010. He was signed for $220,000 by Bangalore, where he joined England team-mate Kevin Pietersen. With much expected he failed to make an impression and was soon left on the substitutes bench. But he returned to his best for England in the World Twenty20 that followed, as his powerful shot-making and coolness under pressure helped him to 183 runs and helped England to their first triumph in global limited-overs events.
It was enough to prove he had the mettle to take his game a step higher and despite a modest first-class record he was rewarded with a surprise call-up to the Test side for England’s first Test of the 2010 summer, against Bangladesh. Walking out to bat at 258 for 4, he could not have asked for a gentler introduction and showed enough confidence to pick up his first Test boundary with a reverse-sweep.
And with the retirement of Paul Collingwood, a permanent space opened up in England’s Test side.
Morgan pipped Ravi Bopara for selection for the first Test of the English summer in 2011 and made 362
runs in 10 innings against Sri Lanka and India. But Morgan endured a disastrous tour of the UAE, scoring 180 runs at 16.36 across three Tests, four ODIs and three T20s against Pakistan and was dropped from England’s touring party to Sri Lanka in March 2012. Sahil Dutta
Tim Murtagh is a bustling swing bowler who a marching run-up. His pace is lively without being express but has become a valued member of Middlesex’s attack. Though now a stalwart at Lord’s, he actually came through Surrey’s age-group sides and was a member of the England Under-19 squad during the 1999 World Cup, subsequently touring Sri Lanka with a British Universities side in 2002. He battled his way into the Surrey side, and in 2005 took a competition-best 6 for 24 in a Twenty20 tie against Middlesex at Lord’s. Nevertheless, he moved north of the river to Lord’s in 2007 where he felt his opportunities would be greater. And they were. Consistent in all forms of cricket, and with a liking for the big occasion, he took 104 wickets in all three formats in 2008. Surprisingly, he was overlooked for the England development squad, but had his chance to shine in Middlesex’s trip to Antigua for the Stanford 20/20 for 20. Together with Steven Finn he led Middlesex’s attack in 2011 helping them win promotion with 80 wickets at 20.98.
Ravi Patel is a slow-left-arm bowler on Middlesex’s books. A product of the expensive, picture-perfect pastures at Merchant Taylors’ school he then continued his cricket development while studying Economics at Loughborough University. He’s been through Middlesex’s youth system and his cricketing hero is Murali Karthik. He made his first-class debut against Oxford MCCU in 2010 and will be hoping to challenge Ollie Rayner for a regular first-team spot.
Ollie Rayner a German-born, extremely tall offspiner. He makes the best of his build with a high arm action. The only thing he lacks is real spin on the ball. After graduating from the Sussex and ECB academies Ollie Rayner signed a contract with Sussex in November 2005. Although primarily an offspinner, he became the first Sussex player since 1920 to score a century on debut when he scored 101 against the touring Sri Lankans in 2006. His main chance, though, came following the retirement of Mushtaq Ahmed in 2008 as he became the club’s frontline spinner. By the end of the season he had done enough to earn a call-up to the England Performance Squad. That was, though, a high-point. His form tailed off in 2009 and his 2010 season was curtailed by the arrival of Monty Panesar at Hove. Rayner joined Middlesex on loan in 2011 prospering enough to be rewarded with a three-year deal.
Australian-born Sam Robson is an unlikely record holder. He has made the earliest first-class hundred ever witnessed in the UK, for Middlesex against Durham MCCU before March was out in 2012. Robson bowls occasional legspin having played for New South Wales Under-19s in 2006. He made a Championship debut for Middlesex in 2009 and in 2011 helped Middlesex to promotion with 903 runs at 53.11.
Chris Rogers holds the rare record of scoring a double-century against his own country. Playing for Leicestershire in 2005, Rogers opened the batting against the Australians and posted 56 and 219 despite chat from Matthew Hayden, who said he should get out to benefit the national team. In 2007-08 he took Hayden’s Test place when the Queenslander was injured for the third game against India in Perth. Rogers scored 4 and 15 and by the end of the summer had lost his Cricket Australia contract and left Western Australia for Victoria. He was frustrated at constantly being left out of the Warriors’ one-day side and his Pura Cup form was down slightly, although his output of 744 runs at 43.76 was still respectable. At Victoria, he continued his prolific run-scoring, collecting 1195 at 74.68 and finishing second on the competition tally, as well as producing a century in the first innings of their successful final. He also found a regular one-day place and was Victoria’s leading scorer in the format with 448 runs and five half-centuries. The following season brought a one-day career-best 140 as well as 641 Sheffield Shield runs, although he missed the triumphant first-class final due to a broken hand.
Rogers was handed a national deal after leading the 2006-07 domestic first-class run-list. That collection started with 279 – his stand of 459 with Marcus North was the third highest in Australian interstate history – and he finished with 1202 at 70.70, which earned him the State Player of the Year and Pura Cup Player of the Series prizes. In the previous season he topped Western Australia’s table with 794 at 41.78, including two hundreds and four fifties. After compiling 259 runs in the one-day competition, he was picked for Australia A’s Top End winter series. A regular in England – he took over the Derbyshire captaincy during a prolific 2008 and joined for Middlesex in 2011 – he amassed 1352 runs for Northamptonshire in 2006, including a personal-best of 319 against Gloucestershire. Rogers had a particularly strong season when he raised four Pura Cup hundreds in 2003-04, but recoveries from shoulder and hamstring operations hampered him the following summer, although he still managed to pass 600 first-class runs and appear for the Prime Minister’s XI.
Strangely, Rogers is short-sighted and colour blind, which means he sometimes struggles to focus on the red ball when it mixes with the background. Ginger-haired and tenacious, he possesses a fine cricketing pedigree. His father John represented New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield in the late 1960s and later became a respected administrator, ultimately assuming a post as general manager of the Western Australian Cricket Association. Rogers’ future looked promising ever since he was selected for the Australian Under-19 team in 1996 but despite Australia struggling for opening batsmen after Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden moved on, he missed the boat for an international career.
Adam Rossington is described by his county’s director of cricket, Angus Fraser, as “one of the most promising young batsmen-wicketkeepers in the country”. A product of both Middlesex’s youth teams and the expensive Mill Hill school in North London, Rossinton hit 161 in his first Second XI innings for Middlesex, against Northamptonshire in 2009. A first-class debut followed the next season and he was part of England’s Under-19s that summer against Sri Lanka. He was awarded a two-year deal at Middlesex ahead of the 2012 season.
Gurjit Sandhu is a middle-order batsman and left-arm seamer who has been with Middlesex since Under-15s. He is from the same Hounslow School, Isleworth and Syon, as former Middlesex batsman Owais Shah. Sandhu made his first-class debut against the touring Sri Lankans in 2011.
Tom Scollay was born in Australia and has played cricket in Northern Territory before coming to England.
An enthusiastic cricketer from an early age, John Simpson played first-team Lancashire league cricket for Haslingden when only ten years old. From then on he seemed destined to play professional cricket, having represented Lancashire in every age group from Under-11 upwards, and earning his first call-up to Engand’s Under-19 squad for the 2005 tour of Bangladesh and impressing enough to gain a place in the World Cup squad. A wicketkeeper-batsman, he was taken on as an MCC Young Cricketer in 2008 and impressed Middlesex enough to be given a contract until the end of 2009. He spent the 2008-09 winter at the Darren Lehmann Academy. After a quiet 2010 season he impressed, along with the rest of his team-mates, in 2011 to help Middlesex win promotion with 869 runs at 43.45.
Despite his relative youth Tom Smith is already something of a South East journeyman having having grown up in and played for Sussex, before a spell at Surrey and signing for Middlesex in 2009. He is a right-handed batsman and left-arm spinner and was named in the ECB Performance Programme in the same year he joined Middlesex. He has had limited opportunities but been unable to grab any of them so far.
Paul Stirling is one of the most promising young cricketers in Ireland. In 2010 he was named He is a top-order right-handed batsman who has already played for the senior team in both 50-over and 20-over cricket. Stirling was part of Ireland’s team that performed well at the World Twenty20 in England in 2009 and signed three-year deal with Middlesex in December 2009, where he’ll join fellow Irish-born batsman Eoin Morgan. Unlike Morgan, Stirling is firmly committed to playing for Ireland. Although he admires Ricky Ponting, his free-scoring approach and generous build invokes comparison to Jesse Ryder. In his fourth ODI for Ireland he made a 92-ball 84 against Kenya and followed up with a 26-ball 30 against England two games later. In 2010 he made a 134-ball 177 for Ireland against Canada in which remains the highest ODI score ever made by an Irishman. He is yet to convert his limited-overs potential into consistent first-class scores but has plenty of time on his side to develop.
Ollie Wilkin is a right-handed batting allrounder who bowls medium-pace. He has pretensions to bowl quicker and has been with Middlesex since Under-13s. He developed his game at Ealing club and studied Materials Engineering at Loughborough University where he played three first-class games.
Rob Williams is a six-foot medium pacer who graduated out of Durham MCCU and played second team cricket for Middlesex in 2005 and 2006. A Championship debut followed the following summer where he opened the bowling alongside Steve Finn against Essex and took 5 for 112. He missed the entire 2008 summer with a stress fracture to the back and didn’t play a first-class game for Middlesex between 2009 and 2011.