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Harry Swindells believes Leicestershire are moving in the right direction

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Leicestershire began the last lap of their Royal London Cup campaign with only an outside chance of qualifying for the knockout stages, but wicketkeeper-batsman Harry Swindells believes the county’s performances in the competition are more evidence of a team moving in the right direction.

“There are lots of good signs,” he said. “We are a young team, quite inexperienced and there are areas we need to improve on massively, but I think we are creating a good culture.

“We just need to keep learning from mistakes. We messed up at Warwickshire where we had to win from the position we were in. It is just in those key moments when hopefully, as lads know their own game a bit more, we can become a bit more consistent

“There have been a lot of career bests this year, which is a good indication of progress. Sam Evans has been amazing in the red ball stuff, for example, scoring three hundreds and there was Rishi Patel’s first hundred last week.

“Ben Mike has had a decent year. Parky (Callum Parkinson) has been brilliant in red ball and T20.”

The personal bests Swindells failed to mention were his own. The career-best unbeaten 171 he made against Somerset at Taunton in the Championship and his 75 against Surrey in the Royal London Cup last Sunday, again his best score in the format are measures of his own progress, leading some to describe 2021 as his breakthrough year, a suggestion that prompts some self-deprecating humour.

“I don’t know about that,” he said. “I’m just trying to improve and there are still two months to go in the season. It could be a failure by the end of it!”

That seems unlikely, particularly after going out of his way to learn from the best this season, seeking out the nuggets of knowledge that might add something to his batting or his glovework.

“I had 15 minutes chatting with Ben Foakes when we played against Surrey in the second match of the season and that was brilliant,” he said.

“And it has been amazing to have Marcus Harris and Josh Inglis here at Leicestershire. They are both really good players you can learn so much from. I just kept asking questions - I couldn’t leave them alone.”

Keeping wicket can be an unforgiving role and Swindells accepts there are moments that demand mental resilience as well as technical prowess. “I don’t want to be known as someone who can bat but can’t keep,” he said. “I want to be the best ‘keeper I can be.”

By Jon Culley