Dawson praises Hammond's key role in Vitality Blast campaign
9 August 2018
Richard Dawson has paid tribute to the role Miles Hammond is playing in Gloucestershire’s impressive Vitality Blast campaign.
The 22-year-old Cheltenham-born left-hander has grasped the opportunity to open the batting in T20 cricket this summer with relish and goes into tomorrow’s (Thurs) South Group game with Middlesex at Bristol (6.30pm start) with 208 runs to his name at a healthy average of 26.
More importantly, Hammond has a strike-rate of 166.77, having hit 29 fours and 9 sixes in eight innings, taking much of the pressure off opening partner Michael Klinger by attacking the bowling from ball one.
Head coach Dawson said: “Miles has been outstanding. He is a classy batsman, who is naturally positive in all forms of cricket, and he can score quickly against seam or spin.
“Michael made it clear in the dressing room after our last game against Kent how much he appreciated Miles’ efforts. When runs are coming so fast at the other end, it gives him a chance to play more carefully through a period when he is not striking the ball as well as he can.”
Hammond and Klinger put together an opening stand of 76 in 8.1 overs at Canterbury on Sunday, the younger player contributing 46 of the runs to help pave the way for an eight-wicket victory with four balls to spare.
It meant Gloucestershire had won two of their three successive group games on the road, losing only the middle one to Glamorgan at Cardiff, by the narrow margin of two runs.
Dawson said: “We played some good cricket in the three matches, although our bowling was not up to its usual standard against Glamorgan.
“Now we need to make home advantage count against a Middlesex side, who have not done well in the group so far, but have some very dangerous players.”
Seamer David Payne also emerged with credit from the three away fixtures, claiming a total of five wickets for 62 runs at an economy rate of fractionally above five runs per over.
“David had developed simple plans for T20 and is executing them well,” said Dawson. “He has done well with the new ball and when we have asked him to bowl at the death.
“As a team we have to keep on developing. The South Group is tightly packed at the top of the table with a lot of sides fancying their chances of reaching the quarter-finals.”
Dawson is not ready to commit on whether Gloucestershire will sign a new strike bowler for next season to replace Liam Norwell, who is leaving to join Warwickshire.
“We brought in an overseas seamer in Dan Worrall for this season and have the option of going down that road again,” said the coach.
“But we pride ourselves on developing our own talent and have some good youngsters to work with. We are already planning ahead, but will review the situation at the end of the season.”