Angus Fraser always felt he would return to Middlesex in some capacity. He did not imagine it would be seven years after leaving and after forging a successful career as a cricket correspondent for an English newspaper. The former England international was one of the new breed of sportsmen who picked up new tools after laying down the ones that had served them so well. Michael Atherton, Derek Pringle and Steve James are among the former cricketers who have chosen to pen their own views rather than be on the receiving end from others.
But Fraser, who enlightened readers of the Independent once he retired from playing in 2002 after 18 years with Middlesex, would probably have had regrets if he did not take up the chance to return to Lord's as their managing director of cricket. While spending more time with his family was a major factor in his decision, so too was the desire to shape a successful future for the county and cricket again.
"When I retired, I always thought I would take a couple of years out and then come back to Middlesex," he says. "Then I came into journalism and seven years down the line, when it has been going well, this opportunity came up. "I always had the desire to come back on this side of the fence: trying to do something for cricket rather than just talking about it. I did not want to think 'if only'. "It is a challenge, but I am excited about it: to try to build something for the county that has been a part of me for a long time.
"Of course, you want the glory, the major honours. I was in the Middlesex side in the mid-1980s and 90s that was successful and the goal now is to win trophies. "We have a young side, and hopefully they can develop and do well on a consistent basis: that is what takes the club forward. When we won the Twenty20 Cup last year, it was the first time since 1993 we had won a major trophy. That is one aspect Fraser is eager to put right. There were reports of unrest in the Middlesex dressing room last season and Ed Joyce departed for Sussex.
Fraser is hoping the players will use their trip to the Emirates as a good chance to bond and prepare for the coming campaig Fraser will judge the strengths of the squad, but he will be missing some key men. Andrew Strauss is currently leading an England side that also includes Owais Shah. Then there is Philip Hughes, the new Australian hope who has already written himself into the record books at 20. Hundreds in both innings against South Africa recently made him the youngest-ever player to achieve the feat, surpassing the mark set by the West Indian legend George Headley.