'Sky's the limit' for emerging Emilio

Emilio Gay knows he is only starting to make his way in professional cricket... but he is also somebody with a burning ambition.

By Jeremy Casey
Friday, 1st April 2022, 11:13 am
Emilio Gay is looking forward to a big season with the bat for Northamptonshire

And in the long-term, he is targeting a place in the England team.

The left-handed batsman, who turns 22 in a couple of weeks, has only made 14 first-class appearances for Northants to date.

Last summer saw him play in nine of the County’s 14 Championship fixtures, with the undoubted highlight his maiden first-class century for the club in the draw against Kent at Canterbury.

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Northamptonshire's Emilio Gay

Gay is now hoping he can make even more of a mark in the summer of 2022, and is relishing the challenge of playing in the top flight of English cricket for the first time in his career.

And if he can cement his place in the Northants team and make plenty of runs over the next couple of seasons, then he knows that is going to help get him noticed in the corridors of power at the England & Wales Cricket Board.

Certainly as England’s Test team is currently going through a torrid time, particularly in the batting department, then anybody making any sort of a decent weight of runs is going to be putting their hand up for selection.

Asked if he has his sights set on trying to get noticed by the England hierarchy, Gay said: “That is something I am definitely looking forward to, and I am looking to try and break into that England team.

“When you look at the Test team, there is definitely room for top order batters.

“I am young, I am hungry, and I feel like the sky is the limit in terms of what I can achieve in the sport, because of my work ethic and the belief I have in myself.

“Over the next 18 months it is something I am looking to do, to break into that England set-up, and I am confident I will score the runs to back that.

“I think the way cricket is at the moment, and with the way the Ashes went, I think that’s what England cricket needs, some young, hungry top order batters to come in and really make their mark.

“I feel like that is going to be me.”

And the Bedford-born player knows that he has a great chance to make a name for himself over the coming months as Northants play their first season in division one of the County Championship since 2014.

And as he will be up against ‘the best of the best’ in the top flight, Gay knows runs scored at that level, rather than in division two, have added significance.

“We are division one, we will be playing against the likes of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Surrey, and if you score runs against those teams, top order runs especially with some of the quality signings they have made, it adds so much more weight,” he said.

“If you get runs in division one it stands out, and that is what I want, I want more pressure and more top teams to play against.

“As a youngster you want to play against the best, and if you can score a hundred against a Yorkshire or whoever it goes a long way.”

Northants start their County Championship campaign next Thursday (April 7) when they host Gloucestershire, a match that will be the first in charge for new head coach John Sadler.

Sadler took over from David Ripley at the end of last season, and over the winter has gone about changing things behind the scenes at Wantage Road.

Ben Smith has come in as batting coach, and there have been other changes as well, and Gay says he has enjoyed the close season.

“It has been good, a smooth transition to be honest,” he said.

“Ben has come in and everything has kind of clicked into place, there is no hesitation there, there is no worries, he has just gone straight in and it has been perfect.

“I’m enjoying working with him, from what he has to give.

“He has a lot of experience, he has played a lot of county cricket, and it is good to have him on board.

“Sadds has obviously gone up to head coach and I do think there is a new feeling within the group.

“We have a new head coach, a new batting coach, a new psychologist, nutritionist, and we have a young group and there is a new feeling.

“I can’t wait for the season to start, it is a new campaign and a new chapter for us.”

Gay was dismissed for just four on the first day of Northants’ two-day friendly against Durham on Thursday.

On a day that was severely affected by the regular snow flurries across Northampton, the County closed on 74 for two, with Gay and Ben Curran both falling cheaply.

Josh Cobb, who is captaining the side finished unbeaten on 38 from 54 balls, while opener Charlie Thurston made 34 not out from 59 balls.

Play was due to resume at 11.15am on Friday morning.