NEIL Dexter is in a very different head space to 12 months ago and ready to reward Middlesex’s loyalty with a big season.
The right-hander endured the toughest of seasons in 2012. Returning to London not long after the sudden death of his older brother Keith, he struggled with the bat for the first three months of the campaign, relinquishing the four-day captaincy and briefly losing his place in the side.
However, a year on and his world looks very different and he is excited about playing his part in Middlesex’s latest Championship challenge.
Newly married to Cayleigh (last September), South African-born Dexter returned to London earlier than in previous years and has bought a property in Watford.
It has left him more settled and ready, he hopes, for his best season yet.
He said: “I’m a bit more grounded with more roots and married to Cayleigh, which is a big plus. My wife has been very supportive with everything and I’m enjoying my lifestyle away from cricket, which can only help on the field. I’m seeing things a lot more positively than 12 months ago. Obviously what happened last year left a huge hole in my heart, but it is something I’ve got to live with now. I have to move on in my life as my brother would want me to.
“For me now everything off the field is just clear and I am excited for everything that lies ahead.
“I wish I had got a permanent home in England a few years ago, but it is never too late.
“I have taken my cricket seriously before, but perhaps not as seriously as I should be doing.
“I believe I’m going to have a good season and reward the loyalty of Gus (Fraser) and others here who stuck with me through last season and hopefully give back a lot to everyone at Middlesex.”