Ollie Rayner will plead with one of his team-mates to play taxi service in the wake of Middlesex’s T20 Blast double header at Lord’s tomorrow.
The German-born spinner was a fixture for the Panthers in the shortest form of the game last season, so faces 80-overs of the most intense cricket there is in the back-to-back games against Sussex and Essex at the home of cricket.
Rayner confesses to not having the longest concentration span of those in the home dressing room.
So with the team set top hot-foot it straight from Lord’s to Northampton ready for Sunday’s County Championship game, the 28-year-old joked he feared for any team-mates in his car should he be designated a driver for the trip up the M1.
He said: “I think what people don’t quite understand are the mental demands of T20.
“Although it is the shortest form of the game I imagine people with short attention spans like me could be quite cooked Saturday night.
“Hopefully I’m not driving up the M1 afterwards because if I am the central reservation could get a beating.”
Behind Rayner’s dark comedy is a serious point given Middlesex’s schedule.
The adjustment from white to red-ball mentality is a tough enough transition most years, so to have to undergo it barely 12 hours after a T20 double header to play what could prove a pivotal four-day match represents a big ask.
It is tempting to suggest finance has won out over other factors, but Middlesex are not the only county to have to endure a fixture list more intermingled between the two forms than ever before.
Rayner makes no secret of the fact he prefers the structure of previous seasons, but at the same time he is philosophical about what lies ahead and determined to enter into the spirit of a format weighted heavily in the batsman’s favour.
He added: “I have to admit I prefer that block of T20 as it is with IPL and The Big Bash which create a buzz for the month they are on and people get the bug that comes with it, but we will have to see how it goes.
“It is a big mental adjustment from one form to the other, but it is how it is and we just have to do our best to adapt and get the most out of the games this weekend. We will have to suck it up as that is what we are paid for.
“There will be a few butterflies going around as it is the first day of the season in T20 and it is the most chaotic form of the game.
“I think the only way you can play T20 is with a big smile on your face and whatever happens happens.
“You can bat really nicely and get out, bowl really well and go miles or bowl rubbish and get loads of wickets.”