Opposition Preview: Somerset
Opposition Preview: Somerset
Specsavers County Championship: Division 1 (2017 performance - 6th)
Captain: Tom Abell (County Championship and Royal London One-Day Cup)
Director of Cricket: Andy Hurry
Head Coach: Jason Kerr
Ins: Tom Banton, Fin Trenouth (first professional contracts)
Outs: Jim Allenby, Adam Hose, Michael Leask, Ryan Davies
Man on a Mission - Jamie Overton. The 23-year-old pace bowler needs to prove his fitness and durability, having missed the second half of the last two seasons through injury. With Craig Overton having achieved a place in England’s Ashes squad and a call-up for the one-day series against New Zealand during the winter, Jamie will be fired up to follow in his twin brother’s footsteps after gaining England Lions recognition himself. Word coming out of Taunton is that he is really hitting his straps again and a big season lies ahead.
One to Watch - Eddie Byrom. The young Zimbabwean opening batsman grasped his opportunity to open with Marcus Trescothick over the final eight Championship games last season with a series of consistent performances, but a top score of only 56 in 15 innings. At the age of only 20, Byrom, like Trescothick a left-hander, has plenty of time to develop his game and can be expected to benefit greatly from his first summer of county cricket, having shown an excellent temperament against the new ball. The patience is there to build an innings and the next objective is to maintain concentration for longer once he has established himself at the crease.
Local Hero - Jack Leach. Taunton-born and a product of Somerset’s Academy, the 26-year-old left-arm spinner has established himself among the top slow bowlers in the country and begins this season as England’s incumbent Test spinner after his debut in New Zealand. Having overcome the shock of being forced to remodel his action, Leach appears better than ever. His wickets played a huge role Somerset avoiding relegation in the Championship last season, but he is likely to find pitches at Taunton less favourable to spin in the coming campaign.
Prospects For 2018
Having narrowly avoided relegation in the Championship last season, Somerset must shape-up quickly under new director of cricket Andy Hurry and head coach Jason Kerr. But there are good reasons to suppose that the Cidermen will be more competitive in four-day cricket.
Marcus Trescothick is running out of time to achieve his title dream and, at 42, will need no greater incentive. Tom Abell, with a tough first season as skipper behind him, and James Hildreth, free of the extra responsibility of a testimonial year, can be expected to contribute more runs, while Steve Davies has the talent to bounce back from a disappointing first summer at Taunton.
Eddie Byrom and George Bartlett need to build on their breakthrough season, but if Somerset can post decent first innings totals, they have the bowlers to capitalise. A fit-again Jamie Overton and twin brother Craig will lead a pace attack also featuring Lewis Gregory, finally free of a long-standing back problem, and the reliable Tim Groenewald. Jack Leach and Dom Bess have already proved themselves a formidable spin partnership, so the team will be equipped for all conditions.
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