Matt Lamb intends to use his maiden century late last season as a springboard from which to "nail down a permanent spot" in Warwickshire's first teams next season.
Towards the end of a season in which he spent plenty of time on the outside looking in to the first team, 23-year-old Lamb was recalled for the home game against title-chasing Essex in September.
A lot of hard work has to go into that this winter, so that’s what I will put in and then next season is a really big opportunity for me.Matt Lamb
He responded by batting for exactly seven hours against one of the best bowling attacks in the country for a superb 173 (371 balls, 25 fours). The innings showed that he can fuse the necessary application and shot-selection to his stroke-playing skills – and now his challenge is to deliver more of the same next season and beyond.
“I was delighted to get my first century and it was nice to go on and make it a big one,” Lamb said.
“I have been in and out of the team over the last two or three years and got a lot of starts and a few fifties so it was nice to kick on and get a big hundred. I proved to myself and other people as well that I could do it.
“They say the first one is the hardest so it’s good to get that out of the way. I will take a lot from that going forward and the challenge for me now is to back that up next season.
“I have been in and out so now it would be really nice next season to nail down a permanent spot whether that be in red or white ball. A lot of hard work has to go into that this winter, so that’s what I will put in and then next season is a really big opportunity for me.
“The 2019 season was a strange one for me. I started really well in the second team in the first eight weeks and scored a lot of runs but then when I got two or three games in the first team it didn’t go as well as I would have liked.
“Then with a few people injured I played a few T20s and took a lot of confidence from that and the back end of the season was really pleasing.”
Now the challenge for Lamb is, as well as backing up his maiden ton with the bat, to develop his medium-pace bowling into a useful first-team option the way Will Rhodes has.
“I have always enjoyed bowling,” he said. “I haven’t done loads and loads of work on it but it’s another string to the bow and it means if you don’t get runs with the bat you can still contribute. I need to get fitter this winter and get my overs up so that I can bowl more in games. If I can do that I can hopefully be a bowling option in red and white-ball cricket.”