Taylor gives Essex tips on Gloucestershire’s Klinger
PUBLISHED: 08:24 04 May 2017 | UPDATED: 08:24 04 May 2017
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As Michael Klinger prepares to unleash another barrage against the Essex bowlers at Chelmsford today, at least Callum Taylor can reassure his team-mates that the prolific Australian does have moments of uncertainty like everyone else.
Not that anyone in the home changing room will believe him. In the last two seasons Klinger has shown a liking for the Essex attack to the tune of 568 runs in eight Specsavers County Championship and NatWest T20 Blast innings.
In that time he has hit three centuries, three fifties and only been out four times for an average of 142.
It may well have been a relief that the Royal London Cup game at Bristol in August was abandoned without a ball being bowled and they were spared another onslaught.
Klinger is back today, though, in the 50-over competition in which Essex have started with two wins out of two.
Taylor, 19, who is likely to perform 12th-man fielding duties against Gloucestershire, saw a different side to Klinger over the winter when they played grade cricket together for Mount Lawley Hawks in Perth.
“He was struggling for a bit of form for Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield,” said Taylor. “When he had the chance to play with Mount Lawley, he saw it as an opportunity to come and get some runs.”
Against Rockingham Mandurah just before Christmas, Klinger came in to join Taylor, captain for the day, at second wicket down and the pair put on exactly 200 in just shy of two and a half hours.
Taylor scored 212 from 186 balls (32 fours, six sixes) and Klinger was unbeaten on 101 (127 balls, 11 fours, three sixes).
“It was brilliant,” added Taylor, the former England Under-19s all-rounder. “Just to have someone like that at the other end. He’s a very calm, relaxed guy at the crease.
“It was great to have someone as good as that to help me with my batting, just to watch from the other end and see how he goes about his business.
“On the day he was struggling for form, so he was more concerned about his own innings. He was struggling to time the ball, so it was more the case of us both batting for a long time together.
“Time at the crease gets your rhythm back and from then on he played really well. You can hit as many balls as you want in the nets, but you don’t get the same feel as spending time in the middle.
“Any game is worthwhile to play in when you can, just to keep yourself in-form or get in-form.
“He didn’t call me ‘Skip’ but it was nice have to him about so if I was stuck with something I’d go to him, or he’d come to me with a suggestion.”
The Mount Lawley spell paid off for Klinger as in February the 36-year-old was called up to make his international debut in three T20 matches for Australia against Sri Lanka, bludgeoning a top-score of 62.
The Perth experience paid off for Taylor, too, as he returned to England as the Hawks’ top run-getter with 680 as well as recording best-bowling figures of 6-41, also against Rockingham.
He added: “It was nice to be away for the winter. I probably put a little bit too much pressure on myself last season. Being in a new team, a new group of players, it felt like a fresh start. It was a chance to go away and work on my game.”
Though Taylor has not yet started a first-team game this season, his athleticism means he is in demand as a super-sub fielder, especially in the high-pressure white-ball games. He has already taken three catches and effected a run-out in that role.