Steve hails India trip as great success

Somerset Club Captain, Tom Abell and seven of the eight players currently on the Somerset Academy returned from India recently after spending ten days facing spin bowling in very different conditions.

Tom joined Nathan Gilchrist, Ben Wells, Sam Young, Ned Leonard, Will Smeed, Lewis Goldsworthy and Charley Reed who spent the trip facing local bowlers in Mumbai.

On returning to the Cooper Associates County Ground this week Academy Director Steve Snell hailed the trip as a great success.

“It was a fantastic ten days,” he said. “It was hard work and very challenging but extremely enjoyable as well.

“We put the boys through a tough programme but they all learned an awful lot about themselves both as cricketers and people. It was great for them to be able to immerse themselves in a different culture and I’m delighted by how it all went. We had some great discussions about the principles of playing spin bowling and you could see how the guys had matured in that respect by the end of the 10 days.

“By the end of the trip there had been a significant improvement in the way that the guys were playing and that shows the value of taking these players away and giving them the chance to bat for five hours per day. In that period, they faced more balls than they will during the whole of the English season!”

What was it like having Tom with them?

“Having Tom there was great for everyone,” said Steve. “He led by example and the Academy players will have picked up a lot simply by watching how he goes about his business.

“Tom took a lot of joy from his many conversations with the locals, which was brilliant to see. He’s got time for everybody and he was great with the lads. His experience of going through the Academy and on to the First XI shows these players that the pathway really works.

“It’s inspirational for them to see someone who was in their shoes not so long ago become Club Captain. For someone in that position to still see the value in a camp such as this says a lot about Tom as a person.

“It was great for the players to observe the manner in which Tom practices too. He’s very focused and his temperament is excellent. Just seeing the fact that his concentration barely wavered despite batting for four or five hours at a time was great to witness. He provided an excellent example to the players, but I think he may well have also gained some inspiration from the Academy players and the enthusiasm that they brought to the trip.

“Tom had never been to India before, so it was great for him to see how important the game is to the way of life over there. One day they all went over to watch some games being played on a strip of land. There were dozens of games taking place in a space the size of one English cricket club which was a real eye-opener and no one could fail to take some kind of inspiration from that kind of love for the game.”

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