Northamptonshire's Emilio Gay raring to take on 'the best of the best'

Emilio Gay can’t wait to test himself against ‘the best of the best’ this summer.

By Jeremy Casey
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 10:51 am

The elegant Northamptonshire left-hander is gearing up for his first taste of LV= County Championship Division One cricket, and he can’t wait to get going.

The Bedford-born opening batsman, who turns 22 on April 14, enjoyed something of a breakthrough season in 2021, scoring his maiden first-class century in hitting 101 against Kent at Canterbury.

Gay is now looking forward to progressing his career even further in 2022, and trying to establish himself as a fixture in the Northants first team.

Emilio Gay in action for Northants against Leicestershire on Wednesday (Picture: Peter Short)

And he is relishing the challenge of doing that while taking on the best sides and the best bowling attacks in English cricket.

“I really can’t wait to play against the best of the best, as I have not played a season yet in division one,” said Gay.

“Last year was my first year really, and that was a group system, but now we are going to play in division one, and I can’t wait.”

Gay is also going into the new season full of positivity and ambition, stating he believes Northants can be a surprise package and be challenging for the title.

Emilio Gay

“I personally think we have got as good a chance as anyone to compete to win it,” he said.

“I know there is chat about survival and stuff, but that is not how I think.

“I am not here to try to survive in division one.

“If you look at how we have played against the top teams, we have been right up there with them.

Emilio Gay is looking forward to batting alongside New Zealand Test batsman Will Young

“Last year we beat Surrey here at the County Ground, we lost to Yorkshire by one run, so that could have gone either way, so against the top sides we have been right there.

“Now we have some overseas players to add to that, I don’t see why we can’t challenge to be up at the top.

“There is some great talent in this group.

“There is some young talent, mixed with a blend of older and experienced lads, and if we can put those two together then I can’t see why we can’t have a great year.”

Gay’s first job will be to get into the Northants team, a job that has realistically been made tougher by the signing of New Zealand Test batsman Will Young for the Championship campaign.

He is a quality addition to the County squad, and one that Gay believes is going to be a very good one for the team.

“If you look at what we have needed, it is probably a genuine top order, number three maybe, to really come in and bat all day,” said Gay.

“We have been very good in the middle order, but a number three is something we have really needed.

“Somebody who can come in after a wicket has dropped and put the pressure back on the bowling, bat all day, and absorb pressure at the same time.

“I think Will Young is perfect for that role.

“He has international experience, he is technically very good, so I am looking forward to seeing what he brings to the team.”

And what about personal targets for Gay? Well, it is all about the team, and being ‘relentless’ with the bat.

“The target for me is that I am all geared towards team success for this year,” he said.

“I am looking forward to the County Championship the most and I am really excited to see where we can go in division one.

“I think we can do great things, so that is my main focus. From an individual perspective, it is kind of taking each game as it comes.

“I feel like my game has got better and I am more prepared now for the season, and division one.

“I want to just break down the door, score as many runs as I can, and be relentless with that.

“I am not really setting a target of how many runs, it is just a case of winning games of cricket for Northants, that is my goal, stepping up when the team needs me.”

Gay scored 26 from 61 balls as Northants played their first pre-season friendly of the summer against Leicestershire at Grace Road on Wednesday.

The County made 296 for eight on their batting day, with six of the 'wickets' being retirements.

The bowlers will get their turn to get into the swing of things at Grace Road on Thursday.