GARETH Berg claims he is a more selfish cricketer in 2013.
Middlesex’s South African-born all-rounder admits there was a time when he had a somewhat devil-may-care perspective on his sporting life.
However, now 32 and therefore an elder statesman of the tenants of Lord’s Berg believes he has grown up and is therefore ready to shoulder more responsibility, especially when it comes to his pivotal position at No 7 in the batting order.
He said: “My mind-set this season has been a little bit different. The past few years I have sort of thrown my wicket away at No 7 and not been selfish enough as a player or relied on my ability to get runs at the end of any innings, whether that be four-day cricket or one-day cricket.
"So now there is the mentality where I’m not leaving it to the next guy. I want to be a selfish player now in terms of being the one who is going to finish games off or get us to a total we are happy with."
A 75 in the one-day format and a couple of useful 40s in Championship cricket have hinted at this change in philosophy, though in more recent games the improved form of those higher up the order has not given Berg much chance to make headway with his mind-set shift.
Yesterday’s 10-wicket win over Leicester in the Yorkshire Bank40 at Grace Road was a case in point, with centurion Paul Stirling (132) and Dawid Malan (80) sharing a record breaking unbeaten stand of 221 to chase down the hosts’ target with almost 10 overs to spare.
Berg did however make a pivotal contribution with the ball, taking two wickets in four deliveries as The Foxes slumped from 102-1 to 103-4 en route to 220 all out, this despite a shoulder problem not back to full strength yet following an operation over the winter.
He insists though he is managing his recovery well, but cannot wait to be operating at full throttle once more.
He added: "The shoulder has eased up nicely. It is still giving me a little bit of trouble, but it is manageable now. I’m raring to go and bowl flat out, but the shoulder is not allowing me to do that quite yet, so I’ve just got to deal with that, hone in on the skills and do a job for the team."
Middlesex are back in YB40 action on Tuesday hosting Somerset in a floodlit fixture starting at 3:40pm, before resuming their Championship campaign against leaders Sussex on Wednesday in a 12 noon start.