KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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Harry Gurney has crept under the radar somewhat since making his England debut against Scotland earlier this month – though you get the feeling the Nottinghamshire opening bowler is happy out of the limelight.
While teammate Chris Jordan has hogged the headlines with a pair of match-winning performances to take England to the verge of a series win, Gurney has quietly impressed with the job at hand in his five appearances after coming into the team for the injured Stuart Broad.
"I’m delighted with how things have gone,” he told Lords.org on the eve of his first international at the Home of Cricket – the 4th Royal London ODI against Sri Lanka.
"I’ve come into the team and people were describing me before as the death specialist and this kind of stuff, and it’s been so far, so good in that respect.
"I’ve managed to restrict the runs at the end and pick up a few wickets as well."
Gurney has slipped easily into the new-look England team after impressing at Notts, which he joined from local rivals Leicestershire for the 2012 season.
I’m delighted with how things have gone
Prior to that the left-armer had gained a reputation as a one-day specialist, but after being backed by coach Mick Newell to perform in all formats he really came to the fore in 2013, finishing as Nottinghamshire's highest wicket-taker in the LV= County Championship.
Things progressed quickly for Gurney over the winter, as the combination of England’s disastrous tour of Australia and an increased premium on left-arm seamers saw the 27-year-old travel first to the West Indies and then to Bangladesh for the ICC World T20 - without quite breaking into the team.
That quickly changed in Aberdeen earlier this month and now Gurney is set for his first Lord's international outing tomorrow – after dinner with school-friends and an early night, of course.
"I’m lucky enough to have played here a few times for several teams," he added.
"But to walk out there in front of what I imagine will be fairly close to a full house, with the three lions on my chest, will be an incredible feeling."
Gurney’s journey to Lord’s has also taken in education at Leeds University, thanks to the MCC Universities scheme.
He spent three years combining studying with a summer contract at Leicestershire, a combination he found tough, but which has ultimately been to the benefit of his cricket career.
And with England in transition, it’s the right time to be a left-arm fast bowler on an upward curve – something Gurney is well aware of:
"I think if you look around international cricket – particularly t20 – left arm bowlers are extremely fashionable at the moment – for instance, a full strength Australia team might have three or four in it."
And what chances of showing off his talents in the longest format in the near future?
"My red ball game is getting stronger and stronger every time I take the field," he said.
"I got Ian Bell out last time I played a championship game and he’s a world class player, so I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into a couple of championship matches when I finish this series. Who knows what’s going to happen?"
Harry Gurney: "It will be an incredible feeling"