MICHAEL KLINGER expects to make a decision over his Gloucestershire future within the next four weeks, writes Rob Iles.
The Australian had a huge impact in his first season with the club, both as a captain and an opening batsman, and although he has struggled to reach the same heights so far this year, the club are keen to extend his contract beyond the end of the season.
Klinger, 33, would also love to return again next year but is not sure whether it will be possible to move his wife and two children to Bristol with his son starting school next year.
“It’s not a cricket issue, it’s purely whether my family will be able to come back,” said Klinger.
“There will be some time frame because the club need a second option to move on if I decide not to come back so hopefully I’ll decide with my wife over the next few weeks.
“I’m enjoying the club and I like being around the players. It looks as though the club want me to come back even though I haven’t been in fantastic form so far.”
Klinger’s struggles continued when he made just 17 having been dropped on nought by Marcus Trescothick as Gloucestershire got their T20 Blast competition underway with an 18-run defeat to local rivals Somerset at Bristol last Friday.
Despite being set what appeared to be an achievable target of 157 to win, Gloucestershire never recovered from the loss of early wickets and only Hamish Marshall, with 54 off 37 balls, adjusted well to a slow pitch as they were bowled out for 138 with former Australia international Dirk Nannes (4-21) shining on his Somerset debut.
With Gloucestershire starting the competition with a two-point deduction they are already playing catch-up in the South Group, where the top four will go through to the quarter finals, and Klinger has demanded an improvement from the top order batsmen when they take on Middlesex at Bristol on Friday (5.30pm).
He said: “I think if we play to what our talent offers, we’ll win matches, then who knows where we could be.
“We could be in striking distance to make the finals, even being one game behind, but on Friday we didn’t bring our skill level to the game.”
Gloucestershire’s game against Somerset was the first time the newly-built Mound Stand was opened to the public with a crowd of around 6,000 in attendance.
Those who arrived late would have missed former England batsman Trescothick being dismissed by James Fuller on the first ball of the match, but Somerset had plenty of international experience in their ranks and an 89-run third-wicket partnership between Craig Kieswetter (55) and Alviro Peterson (51) put them in a strong position.
However, apart from one huge six by Peterson off Graeme McCarter which landed on the top balcony of the four-storey apartments behind the ground, their innings lacked the explosiveness that many expected from their big hitters and Gloucestershire were happy to restrict them to 156-8, Fuller being the pick of the bowlers with 4-32.