PATIENCE has been the biggest key to Toby Roland-Jones’ advance up the Middlesex bowling pecking order.
The Sunbury pace-man outshone England’s newest recruit Steve Finn in the drawn game with Sussex at Uxbridge last week, showing the virtues of good old line and length to take 4-100 and 2-54.
The figures came after he was preferred to the out of form Tim Murtagh and former West Indies quick bowler Pedro Collins in the starting line up - all this in just his second County Championship appearance.
It was a summons for duty which even surprised the 22-year-old himself
He said: I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t a bit surprised I got the nod with everyone fit, but it was the biggest cricket day in this Sunbury boy’s life so far that’s for sure.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned this year is patience really. It’s about sticking to what you know not chasing anything, knowing your limits and seeing where your game can get you.
It’s not often you get a pitch too bowler friendly this time of the season, so you have got to stick to your channels and hope you get your results.
The call up and performance may have surprised Roland-Jones, but Director of Cricket Angus Fraser, one of the sport’s finest line and length exponents in his day, has seen it coming for a while.
And with Iain O’Brien having suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury and Finn returning to Test duties, he can now look forward to an extended run in the side, starting with the visit of archrivals Surrey to Lord’s on Thursday.
Fraser said: "Toby bowled really well down at Uxbridge. I happen to think he would have played a lot more first-class cricket this year if he hadn’t dislocated his finger in the nets early in the season.
"We’re delighted with the progress he’s making and hopefully he’ll get a decent run for the remainder of the season."
So with patience tucked under his belt, what’s the next thing for Roland-Jones to add to his armoury?
"I would hope to add a little bit of extra pace so I want to work this winter on getting a little bit stronger and fitter," he added.
"I’d like a little bit more stamina as well so your last over of the day is as good as your first."