Director of Cricket Matt Maynard has been keeping a close eye on the Somerset players who are spending the winter playing in the Southern Hemisphere.
Matt was out in Australia himself over Christmas, where he caught up with some of his young charges.
Tom Abell has been in fine form and scored another century, his second since he started playing Grade A cricket for Fremantle in Perth on Saturday, which is something that Matt is delighted about. “Tom has been the star so far,” he said. “He’s scored his second hundred of the campaign and is the leading run scorer out there. He also took five catches in an innings as well as enjoying a five wicket haul, so he’ll be coming back as a genuine all rounder!
“The boys are having a really good time in Perth where they are working very hard on their games. Lewis Gregory went out to join Jack Leach and Tom at Christmas and it was nice to see him scoring 40 in his first match at the weekend.”
However, it hasn’t all be good news as Matt explained. “Jack Leach has done really well since he went out earlier in the autumn and his bowling figures have showed that although he hasn’t had a huge haul of wickets he has bowled nice and tight and contained the batsmen and picked up ones and twos. Unfortunately for Jack he has sustained a slight stress fracture on the right side of his spine. However this should be healed in plenty of time for the start of the season, but we are bringing him home as a precaution in order to get him fit and ready.”
Matt also brought us up to date with how the other players are getting on overseas. “In addition to the three players in Perth we have a number of lads dotted around the world,” he said. “Young off spinner Dom Bess is in Adelaide at the Darren Lehman Academy where he has done well. Alex Barrow is out in New Zealand playing for Cornwall where he has got some good scores. Max Waller is down in Cape Town as well where he has been bowling well and developing his game to help him break into the four-day side. It’s also great that Craig and Jamie Overton have both been selected to play for the Lions and they should have a great trip out to the UAE, where they play the 50 over series against Pakistan.”
Matt has also been busy working with some of the younger players at the Club and spent Tuesday evening working with Academy members George Bartlett and Ben Green, who along with Ryan Davies, are off with England Under 19′s to play in the ICC World Cup in Bangladesh. “George was probably the star of the show for the Under 19′s out in Sri Lanka before Christmas,” he said. “He took his chances well and cemented his place in the squad. Ben Green is a quality all rounder and we have got high hopes for him. I guess Ryan was always going to be in the squad for the World Cup and it was great to see him at the Club on Monday. He has got tons of ability with the bat and lovely hands with the gloves.”
Matt added: “It’s fantastic to see that we have got three players in the Under 19′s. It all bodes well for the future and what we are trying to achieve through the Academy. That process is working very well for us and we have got some very exciting talent coming through that will hopefully give us a few headaches in selection for the next few years as these younger players start pushing for a first team spot.”