Roland-Jones revels in Middlesex backing
Toby Roland-Jones has promised to repay the faith Middlesex have shown in handing him a new five-year contract.
Such a long-term deal is rare in domestic cricket and illustrates just how highly regarded the paceman is at Lord’s.
Roland-Jones ended last season’s LV= County Championship Division One campaign as Middlesex’s most prolific bowler with 61 scalps at an average of 19.13.
The seamer is now predictably already aiming to indemnify the club by delivering the goods next year.
“I am absolutely delighted (with the new deal),” he told ecb.co.uk. “It’s nice that the club have shown a lot of faith in me by giving me five years.
“I will work to repay it. To know I could be playing at the home of cricket for at least another five years is a great feeling.
“We are in the middle of building a very strong squad; we have a great mix of experience and youth in and around the place. It’s an exciting time for us.”
It is little surprise that Roland-Jones was keen to sign on the dotted line at Middlesex following an outstanding summer on their return to the top-flight.
Having won Division Two in 2011, the Lord’s outfit went from strength to strength and finished third in the table.
Roland-Jones was delighted to play a part in the relative success, insisting he was just aiming to cement his place in the team when the season got under way.
“My main aim was to just play the bulk of the season and be a regular in the side,” he revealed. “I always thought that with that I would be able to contribute.
“It’s obviously nice to do that and gives me something to build on for the next year. I bowled well quite sporadically early on in the year and then really found my rhythm later in the year.
“I managed to take consistent wickets and was delighted with that.”
Not yet content with their achievements, Middlesex have made several moves already in preparation for next season, including tying Roland-Jones down long-term.
Their most notable piece of business has been the signing of England Lions paceman James Harris from Glamorgan.
That leaves the mouth-watering prospect of a new-ball pairing of Harris and Roland-Jones - something the latter is already relishing.
“It is really exciting,” he admitted. “He has got a cracking record; he is young and I think it is just another step for the club of bolstering our seam options.
“The likes of him, Corey Collymore, Tim Murtagh, Gareth Berg and a few youngsters backing it up looks like a very good attack on paper."
Those seamers have the advantage of being aided by managing director of cricket - and former England pace bowler - Angus Fraser.
Roland-Jones added: “He is a great person to talk to; he understands what is going on with bowling and a lot of people say we are very similar in the way that we go about our business.
“The combination of him, Richard Johnson and Richard Scott is really good. You can keep yourself ticking over and learning all of the time.”