Jason Reflects on Gloucestershire victory
Somerset will be without four players because of international duty when starting their Bob Willis Trophy campaign at home to Glamorgan on Saturday.
But such is the strength of his current squad that head coach Jason Kerr still has plenty to contemplate when it comes to selecting an eleven for the opening four-day fixture.
Dom Bess and Jack Leach are part of the England Test squad, the latter as a reserve, for the series against Pakistan, starting next week, so Roelof van der Merwe is expected to assume the role of senior spinner against Glamorgan.
Tom Banton and Lewis Gregory, another reserve, are involved.
The current one-day series against Ireland, leaving places in Somerset’s team open for a specialist batsman and all-rounder.
There is no shortage of contenders and Kerr insists the players are brimming with confidence following an innings victory over Gloucestershire in the four-day warm-up game played in two halves at the Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton and then Bristol this week.
“It was a really encouraging performance,” he said. “The lads have been hugely competitive since beginning our preparation for the Bob Willis Trophy and to look so good against first class opposition means we can go into the Glamorgan game in great spirit.”
Academy product Nathan Gilchrist, a 20-year-old Zimbabwean pace bowler, pressed his claims for selection with four for 32 in the first innings, while Eddie Byrom and George Bartlett increased their chances of top-order batting places by scoring 70 and 80 respectively.
Byrom opened the batting with another youngster, Tom Lammonby, and Kerr has to decide whether to stick with that partnership or promote more experienced player like skipper Tom Abell or wicketkeeper Steve Davies.
“I will be having a meeting with the captain before finalising selection and we will do what we think is best for the team,” said Kerr.
“Even with four senior players not available, there is fierce competition for places and my biggest challenge will be to keep those who don’t make the team for the opening game happy.
“With five group matches over a relatively short space of time, we are sure to utilise the squad, but some of the lads will have to be patient.”
The battle for seam bowling places is particularly fierce, with the Overton twins, Josh Davey, Jack Brooks and Ben Green in contention, along with Gilchrist.
Brooks has had his injury problems since joining Somerset from Yorkshire, but Kerr believes the 36-year-old is getting back to his best.
“Jack was troubled by a sore heel and achilles tendon last summer,” he said “Hopefully that is in the past and we are expecting some top performances from him.”
The head coach named a squad of 13 for the Gloucestershire game and also had good cause to be pleased with the batting form of Abell, who contributed 65 to Somerset’s innings of 427 for nine.
James Hildreth (48) and Davies (50) also impressed, while Craig Overton overcame any disappointment at not making one of the England squads by claiming five wickets.
Although the Glamorgan match will be played behind closed doors, Somerset supporters will be able to watch every ball, with commentary, through a live stream on our website.Back to News