Craig Miles will be in the thick of the flying flak when Birmingham Bears visit Notts Outlaws in the Vitality Blast on Friday - and he is only "excited" by the prospect.
The Bears travel to Trent Bridge strongly placed in the North Group after five wins from eight games and aiming to complete a double over the Outlaws who they beat by one run in a thriller at Edgbaston two weeks ago.
The Outlaws have plenty of power-hitters and, often with a very short boundary, Trent Bridge is a venue known for high scoring in T20. But Miles, whose intelligent seam bowling has become central to the Bears’ bowling plan in the Blast, will relish the challenge. And he is loving his involvement at the heart of T20 matters after seizing the chance at Edgbaston to show what he can do in the short format.
“Since I joined the Bears I have doubled the number of white-ball games I have played in my career,” he said. “At Gloucestershire, I was always around the T20 squad but they had an overseas bowler, a left-armer and a couple of spinners and the composition of the attack made it hard for me to get in the team.
“But I always felt I was capable of bowling well in white-ball cricket and it’s been great to get the opportunity and take it with the Bears.
“You know batters are always coming at you and that makes it really exciting. I love it and I have loved being part of the Bears attack and bowling at pressure times. You just have to use your skills and variations and think on your feet to keep the batters thinking.”
Miles has taken 24 Blast wickets at 25.00 apiece for the Bears and will aim to add to that tally tomorrow when they strive to bounce back from the ten-wicket defeat to Yorkshire Vikings last Friday.
That was a jarring result but the Bears are still well-placed, third in the North Group with six games left. Wins in Nottingham tomorrow and at home to Derbyshire on Sunday would leave them on the brink of qualification.
“Notts are very strong and it’s a tough place to go but that gives us a perfect opportunity to bounce back from last Friday,” he said.
“We are in a strong position. If you had offered us five wins from the first eight games at the start, I am sure we would have taken it. Of course the Yorkshire game was very disappointing but we will take the learning from that and the learning from the other seven games so far and try to improve in whatever areas we need to.
“A lot of players have made important contributions for us and that is the way you want it. You don’t want to be depending on the same players very time. Stirlo had had a quiet couple of matches but there will be times when he fires when others miss out.”
After the trip to Trent Bridge, the Bears return to Edgbaston on Sunday afternoon to face Derbyshire Falcons. Fans can save £6 per ticket when purchased before the day of the fixture, while under 12s go FREE.