Nick Gubbins, Middlesex’s 22-year-old left-handed opener, is one of eight young players shortlisted for the 2016 Specsavers One to Watch Award – with the winner to be decided by a poll of county cricket followers.
This week, Gubbins became the fourth batsman to complete 1,000 championship runs for the season.
England Lions selection for the winter is expected, following what has been a breakthrough summer for the former Radley School pupil.
Gubbins now has 30 first-class appearances to his name, but until this season had failed to score a hundred. Even worse, he had been dismissed in the 90s several times, admitting the issue had given him sleepless nights before he broke his duck against Somerset in late May.
He now has three hundreds, including a double ton, and has passed 50 nine times in a Championship campaign which sees Middlesex a leading contender for their first title since 1993.
“When I got to three figures I couldn’t describe the feeling, and since then I haven’t worried about getting to a hundred,” said Gubbins.
“My outlook has changed now, whereas before I was lying in bed wondering about it.”
Gubbins also praises the help he has received from his top-order colleagues Nick Compton and Sam Robson, who have both experienced Test cricket and have been both a steadying influence and a source of invaluable tips.
“Compo’s a massive help. We live close to each other, we go for a coffee and we just chat about batting,” added Gubbins.
This winter, whether he wins a Lions call-up or not, Gubbins plans to travel to Western Australia to play club cricket for Perth club Subiaco and also work on his batting with former Australia opener Justin Langer.
Joining Gubbins on the Specsavers One to Watch Award shortlist are Sam Curran of Surrey, Essex batsman Dan Lawrence, the Lancashire pair of Haseeb Hameed and Liam Livingstone, Northamptonshire’s Ben Duckett, Derbyshire all-rounder Shiv Thakor and Lawrence’s Essex team-mate Jamie Porter.
Contenders had to be 23 or under at the start of the Specsavers County Championship season in April, and not to have represented either England or England Lions at that point.
Curran, Duckett and Livingstone have made Lions debuts this summer.
Now it is down to the followers of the Specsavers County Championship to decide the award winner.
The polls have now opened for votes to be cast at http://www.ecb.co.uk/content/vote-specsavers-one-watch-award.
The poll will close late on Thursday September 15, the last day of the penultimate round of fixtures – with the Specsavers One to Watch for 2016 to be crowned on Monday September 19, the day before the last round of fixtures begin.
CAST YOUR VOTE FOR GUBBINS HERE!