Opener Gay determined to make the most of Steelbacks opportunity
Northants batsman Emilio Gay is looking forward to finally showing what he can do in white ball cricket.
The 20-year-old has broken into the County's red ball team over the past year, and last month he scored his maiden first-class century in the Championship draw at Kent.
But his chances in the limited overs formats have been limited to say the least, due to a combination of the Covid-19 pandemic playing havoc with the schedule, and a lot of competition for the top order batting spots in the Steelbacks.
That could all be about to change for Gay though, as the Steelbacks prepare for the first game of the Royal London One Day Cup campaign against Glamorgan this Sunday.
Fresh from making his Vitality T20 Blast debut for the club in last Sunday's North Group defeat to Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston, Gay opened the batting in the 50-over warm-up match against Bedfordshire on Tuesday.
And the left-hander proceeded to impress at a sun-soaked County Ground as he hit a superb 101 in the Steelbacks' 57-run win to stake a serious claim for one of the opening slots in that One Day Cup opener this weekend.
With key batsmen Josh Cobb and Adam Rossington away on Hundred duty, there are slots available in the order, and Gay is hoping he gets the chance to nail one of them down.
"It is a competitive squad here if you look around, and there are plenty of places up for grabs," said the Bedford-born player.
"I have always said that 50-over cricket is something I should target, it is an extension of my current game, and I don't feel like I need to change too much.
"The way I batted on Tuesday was similar to my knock at Kent (in the Championship), with maybe the odd shot more.
"I also made my T20 debut the other day, so I am starting to get into that white ball frame which is pleasing, and I am excited to see what comes out of this next month."
The One Day Cup is limited overs, but is still a long game that offers any style of batsman the chance to play a part, and Gay feels he has the skills to flourish in the competition.
"I have never necessarily gone out blazed the ball and played massive shots and hit massive sixes, but I have always been pretty good at controlling my innings," said Gay.
"Knowing when to go a bit harder, and understanding when to put the bowler under pressure and when to sit back is a skill in itself.
"It is something I have worked hard on in the winter, using sweeps, moving my feet, these kinds of options, and I feel like my game is in good order to score runs in this format.
"There are also batters around me who can go hard, like Tom Taylor, Saif Zaib, these players can go in and go at it from ball one, so it is important to have that player you can bat around and take it deep."
And he added: "This competition is a good opportunity to play young players.
"We have got a couple of players away, obviously Wakers (Alex Wakely) has retired, Rosso and Cobby are in The Hundred, Brandon (Glover) is in The Hundred, so it is a great opportunity to play some youngsters and see what they are about.
"This club has always been good at giving youth an opportunity, and it could be exciting."