CloseMelinda Farrell is a presenter with ESPNcricinfo
Arthur Gurney is having the time of his young life. The toddler is crawling over one reporter’s foot and holding her leg, then he’s pulling the wind sock off a microphone as another reporter interviews his father, Harry, who’s in high demand. But Arthur is most excited sticking his head in the BBL trophy, almost as big as he is. He leans over it as if he’s Harry Potter, about to dive into the Pensieve, and then looks up and offers a cheeky smile.Harry Gurney, the Nottinghamshire left-armer, has clearly enjoyed having his family along for the first part of his three-country T20 tour. They are unlikely to be around for the next two legs; he is signed with the Quetta Gladiators in the PSL and will then join Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL. Such is the life of a T20 gun for hire, a career that Gurney is trying on for size. It couldn’t have had a better start, with his canny death bowling instrumental to Melbourne Renegades’ title-winning tilt. Not a bad reply from someone termed a “left-arm Mr Bean” by Mark Waugh on commentary.But he admitted to having a restless night before the final, going over the possible scenarios if he was bowling at the death.”I think when you’ve done it for a number of years it’s those situations that you live for really and [the night before the final] I was lying in bed thinking, ‘Oh god if I bowl the last two and they need 40 off the last four how do I defend it?’ said Gurney. “And it’s an amazing opportunity so that’s the way I look at it and some days when you get it slightly wrong and you disappear out of the ground and you’re a villain so you’ve just got to trust your practice and hope that more often than not you’ll get it right.”
Harry looks can be deceiving. I was simply referring to the way you look on the field which is no reflection on your ability and skills as a excellent short form bowler. Congrats on your BBL season and win.
— Mark Waugh (@juniorwaugh349) February 17, 2019
He got it right at Docklands Stadium. Gurney had conceded just eight runs in his first spell and returned to share the death bowling duties with Dan Christian who later endorse his team-mate as the best death bowler in the world. Gurney employed the slower ball brilliantly and his accurate yorkers and deceptive variations helped strangle Melbourne Stars as they collapsed in spectacular fashion. Bowling the 17th and 19th overs he conceded 12 runs and took the wicket of Nic Maddinson – the slower ball doing the trick. But it wasn’t until he had bowled the penultimate over that Gurney felt the Renegades had done enough, the Stars needing 28 runs from the final over.
“I’ve had too many bad experiences over the years to rest on my laurels too much,” he said. “I think before I bowled my last over I was pretty confident but stranger things have happened so you have to maintain your focus. None of us celebrated until there were too many runs off not enough balls, it was impossible for them to reach the target.”I think we always felt that you know there’s been a lot of cricket on this pitch and so we always felt that if we got wickets then it might be difficult for batters coming in and starting. And thankfully that proved to be the case. They built a really solid platform but thankfully we started taking wickets the run rate soon starts climbing in T20.”Gurney was Nottinghamshire’s leading wicket-taker in the 2018 County Championship but when he was picked up in the IPL and then signed by the Renegades – joining up with his Notts T20 team-mate, Christian – a new and potentially far more lucrative career direction opened up and he has not ruled out becoming a white-ball specialist. Winning his first of three T20 tournaments is the ideal start.
Arthur Gurney, son of pace bowler Harry, enjoyed playing with the BBL trophy ESPNcricinfo Ltd
“I think I’ve been a pretty good T20 bowler for a few years now if I can say that without meaning to sound arrogant ,” he said. “But this is as big a stage as it gets without being international cricket so to manage to have a good day in the final in front of such a crowd and the people at home is special.”It remains to be seen how many matches Gurney will start for Quetta and KKR, but he’s hopeful the packed schedule will give him a strong lead-in to the English season when he returns for Nottinghamshire.”You’re playing matches aren’t you, you’re prepared, you’re putting yourself into pressure situations all the time, all winter, rather than running up and bowling in an indoor school somewhere in England,” he said. “When I land back in England I think I’ll be ready for a break for a few weeks but I’ll also be ready to hit the ground running when the T20 comes around.”