Tuesday 18 November 2008 

Q&A - Toby Radford (First team coach)

TOBY RADFORD - Middlesex CCC, first team coach

Q.) As someone who has been instrumental to the success of the side, explain how it feels to be involved in such a close final without actually being able to physically influence what your players are doing on the pitch and to have to watch it all from the dug out?

A.) I was obviously delighted with the result, and to win a trophy at the club, the first in fifteen years is so exciting! It was terrific for the players and a great reward for all the hard work they have put in throughout the season! It was extremely nerve-wracking at the end, so much so that I couldn't watch the last ball - but then nearly jumped off the balcony when I realised that Tyron had won it for us!

Q.) You must be extremely proud of your team and of all your support staff. What do you feel has been the key to this year's T20 success for Middlesex?

A.) I am extremely proud of the players and everyone involved behind the scenes - the fitness trainer, physio and analyst all deserve huge praise! We gained confidence from our early results in the competition, which led to a build up of momentum as the campaign continued. I believe our success this year can be put down to a great balance of young and old, with our experienced players helping enormously. Our bowling attack has a bit of everything; genuine pace, swing, variety, and two international class spinners definitely made a difference.

Q.) What will be your lasting memory from the finals day and does the day rank up there as the best day of your career thus far?

A.) It's a day that will certainly never be forgotten. Absolutely everything went to plan on the day. The amazing atmosphere and sheer excitement of the day, from the semis right through to the final, concluding in our victory was like nothing I have ever experienced before! Without doubt this rates as my best day ever in cricket and in coaching - I'll never forget the euphoria and scenes at the end and the sheer delight felt by everyone at winning the cup.

Q.) In a year of such highs and so many outstanding individual performances, it's difficult to pick out any one individual for praise, however what key moments from the Twenty20 campaign do you look back on and see as pivotal to the success of this year's run?

A.) Highlights of the season for me are the Dirk Nannes hatrick at Chelmsford, Dawid Malan's amazing century against Lancashire at the Oval in the quarter final, Tyron Henderson's brilliant and blazing innings against Durham in the semi final, Owais Shah's great knock of 75 in the final itself, the season long consistency of both Eoin Morgan and Ed Joyce in a number of very different match situations, the skills and composure shown by Tyron and Tim Murtagh with the ball and the brilliant spells from both Murali Kartik and Shaun Udal on the finals day and all season really, restricting the opposition and strangling the game!

Q.) Ed Joyce has stepped in and done a fantastic job for you and the side as captain in Ed Smith's absence through injury. Do you feel that Joycey has led the team any differently to Smudge and what qualities does Joycey bring that has led to the side's success - apart from his natural catching talent that is?

A.) Ed Joyce has captained the team brilliantly throughout the Twenty20 campaign. By its very nature as such a fast moving game, it really isn't easy to captain in Twenty20 cricket, yet Joycey's relaxed yet focused approach has enabled him to manage the bowling changes and fielding positions with great aplomb. This combined with his astute cricket brain and ability to read the game really well have been key to his success as our Twenty20 captain this year.

Q.) We've heard a lot about the Middlesex 'system' or 'formula' to Twenty20 cricket this year. Are there any nuggets of information on this that you can share with us, or are they safely locked away in the safe at Lord's to be used again next year?

A.) It can be put down to a number of things really, however a mixture of research, planning and execution of those plans are really all it comes down to at the end of the day! Key elements of this are:- i.) Always look to attack and take wickets early. ii.) Know the average scores for every ground you play at. iii.) Know the opposition batsman's favourite scoring areas and how they are most frequently dismissed. iv.) Placing our younger fielders on the boundary, and our older ones in the circle. v.) Throwing aggressively at the stumps, and backing up at all times. vi.) Mix up the deliveries when bowling, with yorkers, slower balls, hip balls etc. vii.) Mix up bowling spells and not allowing batsmen to settle at the crease. viii.) Have good ‘death' skills - vital at the end of every innings.

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