With 61 wickets in the format since his debut in 2010, the 21-year-old is now regarded as one of the country’s premier limited overs spinners and his efforts have already been recognised by the England selectors.
On the eve of the new Friends Life t20 campaign, Briggs told Tom Grundy he is confident Hampshire can continue their proud record in the competition and qualify for a third consecutive Finals Day.
Do you find it difficult to switch between formats?
It’s not really hard but I think it’s different for different people. Everyone is looking forward to the Twenty20 competition now and I think people get into it straight away. It’s about getting a kick-start with a couple of early wins and carrying that momentum through the competition.
How much do you adjust your training routines in the lead-up to Twenty20 cricket?
It’s obviously more geared towards the format so there’s a lot more hitting and a lot more working on bowling plans. The fielding is so important as well. You can win games in the field in Twenty20 cricket so the training has stepped up and there’s a lot more energy there because it is a shorter game.
Do you worry that too much Twenty20 cricket will adversely affect your four-day form?
I think if there were four-day games between the Twenty20s then it might do, but I think everyone in county cricket is probably good enough to adapt; it’s just about how quickly you adapt. I think with all these Twenty20 games grouped together it’s going to be a lot easier to get into ‘Twenty20 mode’ and then switch straight back to ‘four-day mode’ after that. I think this year’s going to be a lot easier for that.
What does the Friends Life t20 mean to the players on the county circuit now?
Everyone takes it very seriously now. It’s a big tournament for everyone and obviously everyone wants to do well. We’ve done that over the last two years and hopefully we can make it three in a row. The past couple of years have helped with everyone’s confidence and we’ve got a lot of experience in Twenty20 cricket across the squad now so it bodes well.
Which sides do you see as your main rivals?
Somerset and Notts have been pretty consistent over the last couple of years so you can’t rule them out. In Twenty20 if a team gets on a roll they are going to be bard to beat – anyone can win it. Twenty20 is all about taking each ball as an individual event and trying to win as many balls as you can, whomever you are bowling or batting against.
Who should we be looking out for in the Hampshire squad in this year’s tournament?
Shahid Afridi is obviously a big one for us. He had a good tournament last year so I’m very excited to see him come back and we also have Glenn Maxwell coming in which gives us a lot of options. The overseas players always have a big effect and the opposition know they can perform readily. If you’ve got players like that around it gives you confidence and helps you out as well. It’s great for us to learn from them at the same time.
Why do you think you’ve been such an effective bowler in Twenty20 cricket?
I’ve always tried to keep it simple and I think sometimes you can get a bit to flustered in the moment and then things go wrong – I just try and keep it simple and keep as calm as I can and then stick with that.
Does your bowling philosophy change between four-day and Twenty20 cricket?
It depends on the situation to a certain extent. I think in Twenty20 it’s more about control and executing your skill at the right moment. In four-day cricket you probably do need to spin the ball more because it’s more about working the batsman out and getting wickets.
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