First-class spot top of Gurney's list
For a bowler who took 23 wickets in Leicestershire’s Friends Life t20 triumph, it is surprising Harry Gurney played only once in the LV= County Championship this year.
Given the county came bottom of Division Two with just one win – their first match of the season, not aided by Gurney – it is all the more startling.
If Leicestershire saw the 25-year-old as a t20 specialist – he made three appearances in the Clydesdale Bank 40 during 2011 – Gurney did enough to impress Division One Nottinghamshire, the previous county champions. He moved to Trent Bridge on a three-year deal, a move emulated by James Taylor on Thursday.
Gurney, who described their switch as a “big step up”, is determined to show his credentials in the first-class game following 14 appearances over five seasons with Leicestershire
“I’ve got a point to prove and also it’s the pinnacle to win the championship,” he told ecb.co.uk.
“Any trophy is absolutely fantastic and it was great to win the t20 and obviously Notts will be aiming to do that, but the championship will be the number-one priority.”
Gurney’s limited championship opportunities this year were due to Leicestershire’s policy of playing two spinners and, with two all-rounders in the side, one of the two specialist seam berths going to captain Matthew Hoggard.
That left Gurney competing with Nathan Buck and Nadeem Malik for the last spot in what proved to be a largely hopeless cause.
“There were quite a lot of occasions where I wasn’t selected and I felt like I should have been. I guess that often happens, you’re going to be disappointed when you’re not selected,” he said.
“It was a squeeze to try and get into the side but I think at Trent Bridge, traditionally they tend to play four seamers so it should be good.”
With Charlie Shreck leaving for Kent, Gurney will compete with Andre Adams, Darren Pattinson, Luke Fletcher and Paul Franks for a championship berth. Occasionally Stuart Broad may come into the equation, meaning Gurney’s first-class prospects remain uncertain.
His niche may come courtesy of being a left-armer, a style Ryan Sidebottom excelled with to the tune of 213 first-class wickets in seven seasons with Notts – the second half of which he was regularly on England duty.
Broad and Sidebottom are fine examples for Gurney, who shares common ground with each, to follow.
“Broady is a fellow Leicestershire lad and Sidebottom is a fellow left-armer; their careers have really moved on since they joined Notts,” he added.
“I’m certainly hoping that a fresh start at a club with a great infrastructure and great management will take my career to follow them.”
Sidebottom, who was the age Gurney turned last month when he joined Notts and went on to reach 131 international wickets, is a particular inspiration to Gurney.
“If I can develop into half the bowler he’s been then I’ll have a very good career,” he said. “So that’s certainly something to try and emulate.”
Towards the end of his international career, Sidebottom became a Twenty20 specialist – helping win the World Twenty20 before announcing his England retirement later last year.
Gurney, who missed FLt20 finals day with a side strain, tasted what Sidebottom became accustomed to by taking on some of the world’s best batsmen in the Champions League T20 qualifier during September.
Gurney dismissed West Indies internationals Lendl Simmons and Adrian Barath, who opened for Trinidad & Tobago, before one of his three victims versus Ruhuna was Sanath Jayasuriya, whom Sidebottom snared a year earlier in the World T20 semi-final.
Although the Foxes lost both games, Gurney developed a taste for cricket overseas.
“It was frustrating, playing all through and then missing out on final days but it was nice to go over to India and play in those Champions League qualifiers. It was certainly a silver lining,” he said.
“It was good to test myself against some quality players from around the world in different conditions on a reasonably big stage. I’m desperate to reach finals day with Notts and desperate to get back to the Champions League t20 because it was such a great experience.”