Fraser outlines Middlesex overhaul

PUBLISHED: 17:19 30 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:42 24 August 2010

By James Callow. MIDDLESEX may have been within a hair s breadth of a piece of silverware this season but Gus Fraser knows that his side have to improve.

By James Callow. MIDDLESEX may have been within a hair's breadth of a piece of silverware this season but Gus Fraser knows that his side have to improve.

The Middlesex director of cricket, below, is planning a massive overhaul of the club's playing squad in the close season after watching the Lord's club finish second from bottom of the County Champion-ship's second division.

"We can't afford to see this season as anything but a disappointment," said England legend Fraser.

"Yes, we were one point from winning a one-day competition but it was the Pro-40's second division.

"The County Championship is not the sexiest competition going but I firmly believe that it is the best indicator of a team's quality, and on that basis we're not doing so well."

Middlesex have been hampered by England call-ups, with Andrew Strauss, Owais Shah and Eoin Morgan missing for much of the season.

"We can make excuses and the call-ups did affect us - in the last month our batting line-up had an average age of 21 - but that still doesn't explain the majority of our failings," said Fraser.

"Certainly the team hasn't been well-balanced over the last few seasons. When your captain [Shaun Udal] is a spinner and your overseas bowler [Murali Kartik] is a spinner then teams can work out your tactics before you get on the M25."

Kartik has now left for Somerset and Udal has been reappointed skipper for the next season.

"That Kartik has left is no reflection on his performances for us but we definitely need to be more balanced.

"We're looking to sign a back-up spinner to Shaun and an experienced batsman who can hold things together when the England players are away."

With Chris Silverwood retiring and Alan Richardson joining Worcestershire, Fraser expects to bolster the club's fast bowling stocks, while the appointment of a new coach is also imminent.

"We want to bring in an overseas fast bowler and have a fair idea who that player is. I have also spoken to Shaun about our new coach and we are agreed on who that person should be."

Fraser was unable to confirm the identity of the new coach, but it remains a possibility that Australian record run-scorer Justin Langer - who spent three years at Middlesex before a hugely successful spell with Somerset - could perform a joint coaching and playing role next season.

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