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Andy Hurry gives his thoughts on 2018: Part Two

Welcome to part two of our exclusive interview with Somerset Director of Cricket, Andy Hurry.

We spoke to him earlier this week to get his thoughts on the 2018 campaign.

What is your relationship with Head Coach, Jason Kerr like given that you are both experiencing these roles for the first time?

“Since the start of the season I think we’ve grown into the roles together. Our relationship is strong and there is a strong element of trust. We’ve had some really good robust conversations and sometimes we have differences of view, but once a conclusion has been reached we always present a united front. At the centre of any decision we make is what is in the best interest of the team and the Club. I’m really pleased that we are able to have those honest conversations and that we can express our own individual opinions. I think that’s really healthy.

“We talk all the time about how we’re progressing, where we currently are, what we need to be doing better and what we need to keep doing well. I think we have a really good and really healthy relationship.

“I’ve been really impressed with how Jason has gone about his first year as Head Coach because that is a considerable amount of responsibility. With responsibility comes the pressure of managing players and coaches and their performances on the park. You also need to manage peoples expectations as well. I think he has dealt with it all really well. I think that it has helped that there are already good strong relationships with myself, the captains, the coaching staff and with the players. I’m confident that this will continue to grow.”

How pleased are you with the progress of the younger players in the First XI squad?

“Some of the young players on the Academy have gone on to make their debut for the Second XI and have gone on to dominate Second XI cricket. I’m referring here to the likes of Tom Banton and Ben Green. They’ve now forced their way in to First XI recognition. That’s great for me. That shows that our pathway is working. It’s also great for them because they will have experienced what works in Second XI cricket and then what needs to develop and grow in order to work in First XI cricket. That’s a great learning experience for them.

“I’ve also seen someone like George Bartlett for a number of years, having been involved with him at Under 19 level. He made a significant hundred against India in India not that long ago and that was actually the highest individual score for the England Under 19 team, surpassing Alistair Cook. It was good to see him transfer that potential in to the First Class arena this year against a very strong Lancashire bowling attack that included Jimmy Anderson. Hopefully he can use that experience to really kick on in his career and it will be a really exciting 2019 for him.

“I like the fact that we have competition for places. The senior guys aren’t nailed on for selection and these young blokes are snapping away at their heels and looking to put them under pressure. That will drive their performance and their preparation in order to ensure that they are the best that they can be. We’ve got a really healthy competitive environment here.”

How impressed were you by the senior players in the squad this year?

“It’s not just their performances on the park that are really important, they play a fundamental role off it as well. Their contributions off the park are vital to the development of the younger players who are now coming through because they will need those mentors. Their on the field performances need to be right up there as well and they’ve demonstrated over a number of years that they will continue to perform as we move forward.”

How pleased are you that so many of the players have received international recognition?

“It’s great that so many of our players are now being recognised. We can all see the potential that Jack Leach has got to go on and become a world class spin bowler. He has shown tremendous resilience this year and I’m really excited for him, as we all are.

“I’m really pleased that Craig, Jamie, Lewis and Dom have been called in to the Lions squad and it’s great that these guys are still developing and still progressing. They are moving towards their aspirations of playing and establishing themselves with England. It’s not just those guys either. It’s the guys coming through the system at Young Lions level too. It will be Tom Lammonby’s first year as a professional player and he’ll be leading the Young Lions this winter and there are also three other players on the Academy who are starting their journey in to the International cricket pathway.

“However, I’m disappointed that Tom Abell hasn’t been recognised by the Lions for what he has achieved and I’m disappointed that James Hildreth hasn’t been recognised by the senior England squad.”

What are the plans for the squad over the winter months?

“The players are having a well earned break at the moment and those who are not abroad will be returning on November 5th for their medical screenings. This will set out their strength & conditioning programmes up until Christmas and beyond.

“Some guys will be starting some technical development work just before Christmas and that will then increase in January so that there will be a combination of skills and S&C work. This will then accelerate as we look towards the players returning for pre-season training on March 4th.

“There’s some hard work to be done, but it’s an exciting time for everyone!”

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