Royals’ king of spin relishes battle with ‘legend’

Danny Briggs, right, with skipper Dominic Cork after hitting the winning runs against Glamorgan. Picture: Robin Jones
Danny Briggs, right, with skipper Dominic Cork after hitting the winning runs against Glamorgan. Picture: Robin Jones
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Sam Northeast during the press conference at the Ageas Bowl on Friday. Picture:

Northeast: I can realise my dreams with Hampshire

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One man is the leading Test match wicket-taker of all time, who became Sri Lanka’s most consistent and dangerous weapon across nearly two decades.

The other is the exciting prodigy who has burst on to the scene over the past season or two but already looks an absolute certainty to represent his country at some point in the future.

Yet if you were to make a selection choice between Gloucestershire’s Muttiah Muralitharan and Hampshire’s Danny Briggs for a Friends Life t20 game this season, there would be no contest on current form.

The 20-year-old from the Isle of Wight would get the nod.

Briggs picked up career-best t20 figures in the two-wicket win over Glamorgan Dragons on Wednesday, with four wickets for 24 runs from his four overs.

But while Murali could hardly be blamed for Gloucestershire’s batsmen being restricted to 97 for nine in a rain-affected 17-over crushing defeat to Sussex, he did at least pick up his first wicket of this year’s competition in dismissing Luke Wright.

The veteran will never quite get the recognition his career merits, with his bowling action often courting controversy.

But, understandably, Briggs is eager see a legend of the game up close – although he’d rather not have to get his pads on again following his late match-winning innings in midweek.

Briggs said: ‘He’s (Muralitharan) a legend of cricket and it will be great to watch him bowl.

‘Hopefully, the batters play him well and I don’t have to face him!

‘He is just one player out of their 11 and hopefully as a team we can beat them.

‘I’ve never played at Gloucester, so I will have to adapt to the pitch when we turn up but it is something to look forward to.’

The unbeaten Royals have stretched their undefeated domestic t20 run now to eight matches – since an eight-wicket home loss to Middlesex last season.

They face a big task to win both matches in their weekend double header, with tomorrow’s trip to Gloucestershire followed by Sunday’s trip to Somerset.

But Briggs is determined to ride the momentum of Hampshire’s recent resurgence.

Briggs said: ‘It’s key to win games away from home as well and today is an ideal time to start.

‘With four wins in a row, we have to make it five and then hopefully take that to Somerset on Sunday.

‘Two away games on the bounce is always going to be hard.

‘But if we can get another win or two, it will give us a really good start in the competition and we can push on from there.’