2018 county cricket previews: Somerset
In partnership with the Cricketers’ Who’s Who, here’s Wisden’s profile of Somerset for 2018.
HOME GROUND: The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton
CAPTAIN: Tom Abell (Championship and RL50), Lewis Gregory (T20)
2017 RESULTS: CC1: 6/8; RL50: Quarter-finalists; T20: Quarter-finalists
HONOURS: Gillette/NatWest/C&G/FP Trophy: (3) 1979, 1983, 2001; Benson & Hedges Cup: (2) 1981, 1982; Sunday League: 1979; T20 Cup: 2005
Never a dull season at Taunton. In 2016 Somerset were brilliant but finished with glum faces after coming within a whisker of the Championship title (again); in 2017 they were less impressive but came up smiling after out-spinning Middlesex in a relegation shootout.
Their best shot at a first trophy in 13 years appears to be in the short formats, having suffered narrow defeats to eventual champions Nottinghamshire in the quarter-finals of both white-ball competitions last season. Runs were the problem in 2017, epitomised by the travails of 24-year-old captain Tom Abell, who dropped himself from a Championship match in July. With Jim Allenby moving on, Abell now has the 50-over captaincy on his plate too.
Lewis Gregory is the new T20 skipper. Somerset are likely to see less of England’s Craig Overton but hopefully more of his injury-prone twin brother Jamie. Especially at ‘Ciderabad’, their greatest weapon is spin: the Leach-Bess axis with the red ball, Waller-van der Merwe with white. Cameron Bancroft was due to replace Dean Elgar but the club jettisoned him in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal. Elgar had been outstanding in Championship and 50-over cricket and leaves a sizeable hole.
IN: Corey Anderson (NZ, T20)
OUT: Jim Allenby, Ryan Davies, Michael Leask (all released)
Head coach: Jason Kerr
A new management structure is in place after director of cricket Matthew Maynard left following three rollercoaster seasons. Jason Kerr, the former Somerset all-rounder, has been promoted from bowling to head coach, while Andy Hurry is Maynard’s replacement. Hurry had a successful spell as coach between 2006-13 before taking charge of the ECB’s England Development Programme over the last three years. Andy Nash stepped down after a decade as chairman to be replaced by committee member Charles Clark.
RL50: 5/9 South Group
T20: 8/9 South Group
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