Alex Gidman has revealed Michael Klinger’s season-ending injury will act as an extra incentive for Gloucestershire to defeat Kent Spitfires tomorrow and reach the Royal London One-Day Cup semi-finals.
The Australian is set to return to his homeland next week after requiring surgery on a fractured left forearm sustained during Gloucestershire’s final Group A clash with Derbyshire Falcons at the 3aaa County Ground last week.
Klinger was integral to Gloucestershire advancing to the last eight, hitting 228 runs at an average of 57 in seven matches, and his departure represents a huge blow for John Bracewell’s side.
And that is why Gidman, who will skipper the side in Klinger’s absence, wants to repay him for his performances with victory at the Spitfire Ground.
Gidman told the club’s official website: “There will definitely be a sense of wanting to win for Michael. He has been an enormous part of our dressing room for the best part of two years.
“It would be hard to find anyone else who could score his volume of runs in all forms of cricket, particularly the one-day formats, and give so much off the pitch as well.
“He will be a massive loss to us for the quarter-final, but as he would be the first to admit, injuries are part of the game.
“These things happen in professional sport, unfortunately. There will be a lot of us thinking let’s get through to the semi-finals for Michael and I am sure he will be rooting for us.”
Recent results suggest the teams are hard to separate, with Gloucestershire and Kent sharing seven wins apiece from their last 14 completed List A matches.
However, Gloucestershire will be boosted by an impressive campaign that saw them win away at Headingley and New Road.
Gidman is looking forward to the challenge, adding: “We always enjoy going to Canterbury. First and foremost, it’s a lovely place to play cricket. I’m confident we can put in a good performance.
“It will be a fantastic experience for our younger players and the more often they are involved in this sort of game the quicker they will learn how to cope with big occasions.
“Win or lose, we will take a lot from being involved in a quarter-final. I have not been in one for a few years, so I am going to be as excited and nervous as anyone.
“For me, captaining the side again, it means a return to sleepless nights of preparation and thinking about how things might turn out.
“I would be so proud to lead this side into a semi-final and maybe even beyond.”
Gloucestershire come up against a Kent side that flourished on home soil, winning three of their four Group B matches.
Sam Northeast is hoping to make home advantage count yet again tomorrow, telling Kent’s official YouTube channel: “Everyone is excited at the club. We owe it to the fans to go one better. It would be brilliant.
“We have played some really good games of cricket here so we are confident. With the backing of the crowd behind us, we have got positive thoughts about going to the semi-finals.
“It’s nice to get to this time of the year, and to be in the hunt for a Lord’s final is brilliant.”
— Kent Cricket (@kentcricket) August 28, 2014
Kent are without England spinner James Tredwell and Australian paceman Doug Bollinger, who is back in his homeland preparing for the Champions League T20.
Mark Davies, Brendan Nash and Calum Haggett are also unavailable due to injury.
Head coach Jimmy Adams added: “We’ve really enjoyed the 50-over format and I am pleased with our form in this tournament so far.
“The absence of Doug and James from the attack will be felt but it creates good opportunities for other lads.”
Royal London One-Day Cup facts
* The last 14 completed List A meetings between Kent Spitfires and Gloucestershire have produced seven wins apiece.
* Sam Billings’ dot-ball percentage of 26.2% in the Royal London One-Day Cup 2014 is the lowest of anyone facing at least 100 balls in the competition.