TIM Murtagh is suffering because he's pining for his bowling mate.
No less a person than Middlesex batting coach Mark O’Neil reckons the reason Murtagh hasn’t taken a wicket in the Championship since May 17 – six innings ago – is down to Finn not being at the other end to help with the donkey work.
According to the no nonsense Aussie every truly successful side has had a bowling double act.
No Holding without Roberts, no Statham without Trueman, no Marshall without Garner – you get the idea.
In fact, O’Neil recalled a partnership from closer to home and the impact losing Dennis Lillee has on his first sidekick Bob Massie.
And he’s worried ‘Dial M’ could end up on a similar road unless Finn is released by England or Iain O’Brien’s hamstring injury clears up.
He said: “If you put Finn or O’Brien up the other end to Tim you have a Lillee and Massie type situation.
“Lillee would be tearing in bowling fast as a strike bowler and batsman would feel obliged to have a go at Massie, and that’s when you start to get wickets.
“But when Lillee broke down in the West Indies (1973), Massie felt he had to run in and bowl faster and faster.
“As a result he lost his line and his swing and in the same way Tim is now Middlesex’s strike bowler and is bowling a different line and length.”
Murtagh drew another blank as the Seaxes went down to a 10-wicket defeat in three days to Gloucester at Bristol this week, their sixth Championship defeat of the season and one which will see them propping up the table should Surrey beat Derbyshire in the fame ending today Friday.
However, with Gareth Berg nursing a back niggle, the rest of the Middlesex pace attack lacking experience and a relentless match schedule, the 28-year-old looks like he’ll have to bowl his way back to form.
O’Neil admits he’s staggered by the amount of cricket played in the English summer.
“These players are permanently knackered because of the schedule of first-class cricket,” he added.
“My job is to make people as good as they can possibly be, but how do you do that in a situation where there is no downtime.
“Can you name another sport which has it players doing what we do?”
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