Middlesex teenager Max Holden says the club’s track record of promoting youth convinced him he would be handed a chance in the first team.
The 19-year-old batsman made his senior debut for the club in their severely rain-affected County Championship Division One draw against Hampshire at Uxbridge.
Despite difficult batting conditions and the stop-start nature of the game, Holden’s innings of 35 made him the second highest scorer in a line-up containing four full internationals.
That Middlesex side also included two recent second-team graduates – Stevie Eskinazi and Tom Helm – with a third, Nick Gubbins, on his way back from injury.
“I’ve played with those guys in the second XI, so of course it was pleasing to see them progress and it gave me confidence that if I kept working hard, the opportunity would come,” said Holden.
“It shows the path is definitely there for guys who work hard and score runs in the seconds. [Managing director of cricket] Gus Fraser has said that previously – if young guys perform, they will be backed.
“I’ve been in the Academy since I was about 13, so I’ve always had that goal of representing Middlesex. I love the club so it was a special day, one I’ll remember for a long time.”
The young left-hander, who also captains England’s Under-19 side, feels he was better equipped to deal with the challenge at Uxbridge after his successful loan spell with Northamptonshire.
Holden made nine appearances in Division Two for the Wantage Road club earlier this summer, scoring two centuries and recording a healthy average of just under 40.
“It’s really helped,” he added. “I’d played second XI cricket for a few years and Northamptonshire was a good opportunity for me to be exposed to first-class level and the pressure that comes with it.
“There is definitely a step up from second team cricket, so it made it a lot easier knowing I’d already played several first-class games. Although this is Division One, I sort of feel I’ve got that experience behind me.
“It was nice to get into the rhythm of playing that level of cricket, and to get a couple of hundreds as well. Hopefully one for Middlesex will follow.”