Cricket: Essex’s Browne does not want season to end
PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 August 2018
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Nick Browne is in no hurry for the cricket season to end just yet; in fact, he would be happy if it went on indefinitely.
The left-handed opener missed a large chunk of Essex’s summer with a broken finger, but has made a timely return to both the team and his own form just as the season reaches its nail-biting climax.
Browne was out for three mid-summer Specsavers County Championship matches, as well as the entire Royal London Cup campaign, and says: “I feel like I’ve hardly played and I’m desperate to score some runs and make up for a disappointing season. With having that injury the hunger is massive now.
“I’m probably different to everyone else, I’ve missed so much I want to keep playing past the end of the season. Most county players who’ve played all formats want to get to October and get the season out the way. I’ve got to make the most of it now.
“It’s definitely been a disjointed season and, yes, it feels like a wasted summer. It felt like it should have been a season that, at 27, I could have really kicked on. So in that respect it’s been very disappointing. My finger feeling good and it’s behind me now. I want to try and finish the season well and hit the ground running for next year.”
Browne suffered the injury that kept him out for six and a half weeks in the nets on the eve of the Championship match at Worcester in May.
A delivery from Neil Wagner reared up higher than expected to almost armpit height and caught Browne on the side of the glove. Had it hit his hand flush-on he would shrugged it off have settled down to face the next ball.
“I knew straight away that it had gone,” he adds. “I took my glove off and it didn’t look right, it looked out of place.”
He holds no grudge against the bowler, adding: “I think the lads do more than me! He didn’t mean to hurt me. It didn’t come from a bad place. It was just an unlucky break. He was quite upset about it. We spoke quite a bit after that, and it’s okay.”
Browne’s unscheduled absence forced a revision of his targets for the season. Initially he had set his sights on “four five Championship hundreds”, now he would like to round off the year with three centuries in the remaining five games.
Since his comeback he has scored three fifties in four innings, compared to a total of 83 runs in five pre-injury outings.
Browne knows he missed out on posting his first Championship century of the season at Taunton last week, falling 14 short when he was one of spinner Jack Leach’s eight second-innings victims, his wicket prefacing an Essex collapse after a promising 113-run second-wicket stand with Tom Westley.
Essex failed by 46 runs to reach the 336 needed for victory, and Browne said: “It would have been an absolutely brilliant win and we’d have been sitting second or third and ready to hunt Surrey down. But we lost and Surrey won. It’s so close this table that you’re looking at the top one week and relegation the next.”
Essex start a programme of five Division One games in 30 days today at Chelmsford against Hampshire, the team just behind them in fifth place, with Browne admitting: “We’re in a dogfight now and it’s all hands to the pump.
“The mood in the camp is really good. We all get along and that goes a long way. If there were rifts and you’re not performing, that’s when things can go from bad to worse. But we all stick together and go for it as one. We get around anyone who’s struggling and make sure they come out the other end.”