Rawlins: I like to entertain – and I managed it at Lord’s

Delray Rawlins / Picture supplied by Sussex Cricket
Delray Rawlins / Picture supplied by Sussex Cricket

I got a feeling I might be making my T20 debut at Lord’s on the coach trip up, writes Sussex’s Delray Rawlins.

The way Dizzy and Wrighty were talking to me, telling me to get my head ready and prepare as if I was going to play, was a pretty good clue.

Although I had been in the squad since the start of the tournament, I couldn’t complain about not being in the final XI after the start we had. But when there was the need to tinker with the balance of the side and make a change, I felt like I was in with a chance.

Once we arrived at Lord’s and it was confirmed I’d be playing, the boys were brilliant, wishing me good luck.

CJ told me just to express myself and show a big crowd what I can do. Will Beer was great too. He and I had spent quite a lot of time together in the dugout during the previous games, and he just told me to keep looking around, taking it all in and enjoying the moment.

It was pretty amazing to walk out to bat in front of a big crowd at the Home of Cricket, and there were some nerves to begin with. It certainly felt like 20,000 people were watching! Once I got going though, I just kept CJ and Beero’s words in my head.

My reverse sweep for six off Ashton Agar felt pretty good and I felt like that was a good example of expressing myself. I’d been practising the shot a bit before the game, but I’d say they were mainly going for four, so to see it sail into the stands when it mattered was pleasing.

T20 is about entertaining the fans, and there’s an element of crowd-pleasing in the way I play, but the most important thing is always doing a job for the team. I was looking to take the pressure of the guys at the other end and trying to set us up for as big a total as possible.

When I came back in after my innings, all the lads gave me a pat on the back and said ‘well dome’ which was a huge confidence boost and set me up nicely for our effort in the field.

It turned out to be a tight game and when Eoin Morgan got going I thought we could be in trouble. Jofra’s hat-trick sealed the deal for us though, which I was very happy about both on a team level and a personal level as me and Jof are pretty good mates.

My phone was buzzing when I came off the pitch with messages saying ‘well done’ – at one point I thought I was going to run out of battery and I had to turn of my Twitter notifications for 24 hours.

Since that night, I’ve had another chance to play in front of a big crowd at The Oval. We were going nicely and I was just getting going with 20 off about ten balls when the rain came. I was just looking to do exactly the same as at Lord’s and I’ll keep looking to do that for the last few games of the tournament.

We’re focussing on each game as it comes at the moment, but once the Blast group stage is done and fingers crossed we’re in the quarters, I’m hoping my performances and the attitude I’ve shown around the dressing room will put me in contention for breaking into the team for the Championship run-in.

by DELRAY RAWLINS

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