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Busy winter ahead for Roelof

Roelof van der Merwe was one of Somerset’s standout performers as the Club made it through to the final of this year’s Vitality Blast.

The Netherlands international claimed 11 wickets in the competition at an average of just 18.09, including a best of four for 27 in the quarter-final against Lancashire Lightning at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

How would he sum up the season?

“We didn’t play our best cricket in the last month of the season, but we competed well in all formats,” he said. “I think that’s a great thing to be able to build upon in 2022. Different guys put their hands up across the whole season which is important. We didn’t just rely on one player and that can only help us in seasons to come because as a unit there are so many guys who can do the job.

“I think that my bowling went pretty well, but I would have liked to contribute a bit more with the bat. That’s something that I’ll be working hard on ahead of next season. The goal is to stay consistent with the ball and be more consistent with the bat. We have high standards, and we are all disappointed that we didn’t win anything.”

The Vitality Blast quarter-final is a game that will live long in the memory of Somerset Members and supporters. What was it like to play in the match?

“The Somerset Members and the crowds that we get here are unbelievable and that definitely gives us an advantage when we play at home. The quarter-final against Lancashire was a great example of that. I think that getting Liam Livingstone out that day was my best wicket in the competition. We know how he can change a game because he’s done it on multiple occasions, so to get him out was a special moment in the season for me. More importantly though, the team went on to win that game.”

Following that thrilling game, there was the drama of Finals Day.

“If you look at Finals Day as a whole, I don’t think we played anywhere near our best cricket,” Roelof said. “Even in the semi-final we didn’t play a complete game, but we had a few special knocks towards the end. We took the positives from that because we won a game from a position where we possibly shouldn’t have done. Obviously, it was disappointing to lose in the final, but I think there are only a few minor things that we need to tweak in order to go one better next year.”

It’s already been a busy winter for Roelof. He featured for the Netherlands in the T20 World Cup and is heading off on international duty again for a tour that will mean a lot to him.

“Obviously, the past two years have been really tough for everybody, so having the opportunity to go out there and represent the Netherlands in the World Cup was great. It’s always good fun to go and play in these high-profile tournaments and that’s what all players want to do. It’s a pity that we didn’t play to our ability, but that’s how we will learn and get better.

“We are playing three ODIs in South Africa, which will be nice because I’ll be going back to my old home ground to play against my old country. That will certainly be interesting, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. When I was younger, I would never have imagined that I would be playing against South Africa, but it should be good because the boys are hungry after the disappointment of the T20 World Cup. We want to make that right and show what we’re about. It’s an exciting trip ahead for us.

“After that series, I’ll be staying there for a month or so to spend some time with family because it’s been a while since we’ve been able to see each other. In the new year I’ll be back at the Cooper Associates County Ground preparing hard for the new season.

What can the Club achieve in 2022?

“We’ve spoken about what happened last season and we all know that we can compete and aren’t far off. I really have a feeling that silverware is just around the corner again.”

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