THE shortest day is now behind us and it is downhill all the way to the new cricket season in England. We may still have the worst of the winter to come but from now until then the days will be getting longer, writes Richard Walsh.
Somerset fans were left disappointed at the end of a summer which promised so much. Going into September they were daring to think that 2021 might be the year they would break their duck and win the coveted County Championship title for the first time since the club was established in 1875.
Somerset also qualified for the Finals Day of the T20 competition after beating a strong Lancashire side in the quarter finals in front of a full house at Taunton. But no, it wasn’t to be, and all our hopes were left in tatters.
Despite the disappointment we are all waiting expectantly for the announcement of the 2022 fixtures so we can start to plan our days at the cricket and away trips.
Many fans have already joined up for the 2022 season and much of the talk is about who Somerset may have signed to strengthen their side for the next campaign - who might come and provide that crucial piece of the jigsaw that has been missing.
Most would agree that the priority is for a top order batsman, along with a fast bowler to help to share the load with Craig Overton, who may be away with England, and the fit again Lewis Gregory - who has only just started to bowl again.
They say time flies and indeed it does because it hardly seems like five years since a fresh-faced Tom Abell was appointed captain of Somerset. The 22-year-old had flown back from Australia to join the assembled throng in the Blundell’s Box at the County Ground for the announcement.
At times he must have felt it was a poisoned chalice and wondered why he took the task on, but he has proven himself a natural leader and a well respected and successful captain - and a very nice bloke as well.
In fact, Tom is one of the very best I have been lucky enough to work with over the many years I have been associated with the county.
Recently I was lucky enough to catch up with Captain Tom and chat about his time as skipper of Somerset.
He said: “Captaincy has certainly come with its challenges and so much has happened over the last five years since I was appointed. Initially, when I took the job on, I was slightly naive and not fully aware of what was to come, and all of the challenges associated with it.
“However, there is only one way you are going to find out and during that first season I learned a lot about myself as a player, and I hope it has had a beneficial impact on me.
“I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to give it my best shot as captain of the club, but equally I want more, and I want to be winning trophies more consistently.
“We are there or thereabouts but we haven’t quite got over the line as often as I feel we are capable of, which is slightly frustrating. However, I feel we are continuing to grow and to develop. We just have to trust what we do and that is the big thing for us.
“A huge part of my experience at Somerset Cricket has been in a team with a core of young home grown talent plus some top players to complement that. We have lost some top players but we have young players coming through to fill those voids. We just have to harness these talents and continue to grow.”
Looking ahead, Tom added: “I have to focus on what went on during the first half of 2021 and take that forward because I know that is what we are capable of and I want to deliver that more consistently and win some trophies for Somerset.”
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