Michael Leask is another of Somerset’s players who spent the winter abroad.
The 26 year old was part of the Scotland squad that impressed in the recent Desert T20 tournament and this was one of the subjects that we spoke about when we sat down with him last week. “We had a pretty successful time out there to be honest,” he said about the experience. “The boys did really well and we made it through to the semi-final. Unfortunately for us we were undone by a very decent Ireland side. Despite that, it was a good trip on the whole and of course it was nice to beat a Dutch team that included Roelof (van der Merwe) and Paul (van Meekeren). Josh (Davey) and I may have mentioned that result a couple of times since we got back! It’s the first time that we’ve got one over on them for a while and it’s always a good game when we play against them.”
It isn’t just the Desert T20 that has been occupying Michael’s time over the last few months as he explained: “I’ve been working hard all winter and doing some good work up in Scotland. I’m now hoping to transfer that in to my performances back down here. I’ve been working on a lot of skills based training over the winter and some under-fatigue based work to put the mind under a bit of pressure too. I’ve spent a bit of time talking to Jamie Dalrymple as well about the psychology of the game.
“Since we’ve all been back Daz (Darren Veness, Head of Strength & Conditioning) and Jamie (Thorpe, Lead Physiotherapist) have been putting us through our paces. It’s safe to say that fitness testing week is always a grueling one but it’s nice to be back. I’ve been in regular contact with those two over the winter and I’ve been working hard to stay on top of things and do what they were asking. Obviously it’s important that you do the fitness work and stuff in the gym. If you don’t put the work in, you don’t get the rewards. It’s nice when you see all the hard work pay off. You do pre-season for a reason!”
2016 was Michael’s first year with the Club. How does he think it went? “I think it was a fairly successful year in terms of Second XI cricket but not so much from a First XI point of view,” he said. “I’m hoping to do a lot more in terms of First Team cricket this year in terms of better performances. It’s really a case of performing the best I can for the Second Team. Off the field I’ve made a lot of good friends here and at Taunton St Andrews, so It’s been nice to meet a lot of really good people.
Michael also outlined his goals for 2017. “My main ambition is to get re-signed,” he said. “I also want to have a really good year for the Seconds and the Firsts. I feel that my strength is T20 cricket so I want to have a good year in the NatWest T20 Blast.”
The Scotland International has been incredibly impressed by the Somerset Members and supporters since joining the County as he explained: “Walking out at Taunton in front of a full house was a very special moment and was right up there with putting on that Scotland jersey for the first time. It was a really proud moment for me.”
During his year at Somerset Michael has also been actively involved with the Club’s Community Engagement Programme about which he said: “I love doing those sort of things and giving back to the community is really important. When you go to places Selworthy School, it really opens your eyes to the great work that they do for the children. It was an incredible experience.”