Exclusive Steven Croft column: T20 record is in my sights

I've bumped India captain Virat Kohli (above) down the list of record Twenty20 appearance-makers
I've bumped India captain Virat Kohli (above) down the list of record Twenty20 appearance-makers

It was good to have a week of first-team cricket in the Twenty20 Blast.

We had three games and, from a personal point 
of view, it was good to start the competition in the 
first team.

I’ve not really done much yet with my role, but first and foremost it’s good to be in the side.

In the first game I got 15 off seven balls, next game I got a run-out and after that I got a couple of catches, so I contributed a little bit.

But personally I would like more of a chance with the bat and ball, but hopefully later in the competition I can get more of a go.

It’s always tough to start with a defeat, as we did against Worcestershire Rapids, especially when it is a narrow one. But we bounced back well with wins against Derbyshire and Northamptonshire.

With the three games in four days, if you had been offered two wins out of the three you would probably have taken that. But still, it was a little bit disappointing with the first loss.

It was probably a game we felt we were in for most of it, but we didn’t bowl as well as we could have. We batted really well to get to 188-6 but to have two wins from three is great. That gives us a good platform.

I’ve said it before, the main thing in Twenty20 is to get out of the group.

The most important thing to do was to react positively to the opening defeat, which was disappointing because it was a game we probably should have won.

We felt we had enough on the board, we just felt like we didn’t bowl well really. A bad power play and a bad finish cost us after the spinners had bowled quite well during the middle.

So it was disappointing to start like that.

But on the flipside, it was a great comeback by the lads to win two from two.

As you may have read recently, I’m closing in on a world record for the most consecutive Twenty20 
appearances.

It’s always nice to have personal milestones. I think I’ve got another 12 games to go for the world record.

I think we’d probably have to get to finals day to make it happen, but it’s always nice to tick off these sort of milestones.

It’s just flown by really, having made my first appearance in 2006. I’ve stayed in form and stayed fit during that period which has obviously helped.

Looking back it’s not really something you feel you are doing at the time. You just feel like you are playing a few games here and there.

But to do it for 13 seasons, that’s obviously quite a good achievement when you take a step back from it.

Hopefully it continues this year but the main thing is obviously to get out of that group and try and win it once again.

We had a taste three years ago when we won it and most of the lads from that side are still here. So we want to try and get back to finals day.

I think quite a few people, especially those in the IPL, have dipped in and out of different sides and have gone on a long run. But this record is consecutive appearances for just one side.

Virat Kohli is probably cursing me somewhere as I’ve bumped him down the list, although he probably doesn’t know who I am. He’s probably thinking, ‘Who’s that Croft?’

I think the one before was MS Dhoni and the one above is Suresh Raina, so it’s nice company really.

Back in 2006 the competition would only have been running in this country for a couple of years. I still remember my first game. It was away to Derby and it’s amazing to think where the game has gone from that point.

The Twenty20 Blast is one of those competitions where, without disrespecting the smaller counties, they feel like they have got as big a chance as the bigger counties that are usually in Division One.

We’ve seen Leicestershire win it three or four times over the years and Northants have won it a couple of times over the last few years.

I wouldn’t say it’s an even keel but it is one of those competitions which is open and anyone can win really.

Funnily enough it’s Derby on Saturday too and it’s a game we go into after having a bit of a rest.

It was nice to put our feet up a little this week. Everyone should be fresh and we will be going into the match in confident mood. Hopefully it’s all set up for a good day.

The games were a bit crammed in last week but we’ve been off all week this week, so it’s been nice from a preparation point of view.

Steven Croft is celebrating his testimonial year and was talking to Matt Scrafton