Grockles.com
Nil Desperandum - the shape of things to come
By Grockle et al
March 1 2020

And so we get to the season we have been watching come towards us over the horizon.  It does not seem like over 2 years ago that the plans for this started to appear but they have changed almost out of all recognition since that time and we may not like what we see but as people say.... it is what it is so let's get after it!!

And so we get to the season we have been watching come towards us over the horizon.  It does not seem like over 2 years ago that the plans for this started to appear but they have changed almost out of all recognition since that time and we may not like what we see but as people say.... it is what it is so let's get after it!!

It's March 1 and we are 35 days away from a side on a pitch at Taunton.  It will be Easter Sunday before we welcome Warwickshire to the County Ground for the first real game.  We start the Championship season 12 points adrift with another 12 sitting on the sidelines should we even consider any kind of spin in the pitch before a game is 75% finished.   As we have 7 games before the 25th of May that may cause problems for us in term of 2 players as both Jack Leach and Dom Bess have been fighting it out for the England spinner mantle over the winter.  Unless one of the can offer more than spin bowling as their contribution, one can't see them both playing in a Somerset CC1 side on pitches that won't offer huge spin opportunities.  Jack has had respiratory issues and that may not be good in Coronavirus territory in April/May, he is also presently working on a calf injury and so may not be 100% when we start.  However, if he is fully fit, one has to think that Dom will need to offer improved batting to push his way into the first eleven.  England may call and solve the problem for us, we have to hope they won't take both and stick one on the bench with the drinks tray.  Contracts are also up for re-negotiation and it could be we don't have the luxury of chooosing one from two for much longer unless these players can get first team cricket somewhere.  I doubt Dom will be all that keen with going out on loan for another season and who would blame him.

We have some Aussie fire coming in for April/May of this season in the form of Matthew Wade as our international player for the first 7 Championship matches.  Feisty and aggressive is probably what we need though there will be doubts about whether he fills the gap we need at 3 or is a much more effective number 5 or 6.  It will be interesting to see how he is used and what that frontline is given that we will not be seeing Tom Banton in the early part of the campaign - and it's a lot of it with only 14 games in a 10 team event.  It is too much really to expect Banton to be much of a feature until possibly when the whole thing is all but over in September because he will be dragged away for one of his other white ball 'mercenary' appearances during the July/August games - he may be seen at Kent and Essex perhaps.  No news yet as to what happens once Mr Wade leaves so there is more to come I suppose.

Alongside the international component we have another 'newbie' - well sort of.  Vernon Philander has returned to the County Ground as a full time 'semi kolpak'.  How this pans out after this year is yet to be determined but for 2020 he is a full time part of our squad after retiring from international cricket.   There are doubts about his fragility and his commitment which only he can dispel but he is a Somerset player for the summer and can be a real weapon on his best day.  Is he fit?   Is he keen?  Hope so because is he is he will be a great addition to our already potent seam attack, helping the 'shock and awe' section and offering world class bowling expertise to guys wanting to get better and know more.  I'd be worried as opposition on his best day and I'm hoping for quite a few of those.

If the weather lets us and we hit our straps early this could be a great season.  We hoped that it was 'Kismet' last year in Banger's last hurrah but that was not to be and it was probably a year too long for him as well. I'm not sure we can get ourselves over the 12 point parapet and I'm not sure that if we do the ECB won't try to make sure the first champions of the new 'urban' league year are not a 'provincial' outlier of their 'brave new world'.  But we can give them a damn good run for it.  Eddie Byrom, Tom Lammonby, Tom Abell, Lewis Gregory and the Overton brothers have all had decent winter 'wanders' with sides around the world.  Steve Davies has an important role in the early season as does George Bartlett.  We have to hope the younger boys and the rest of the squad are ready for this and come back eager to get to grips with the demands of an important season with the absence of Marcus Trescothick and the mighty Peter Trego (except as a visitor with the Notts crew - go well Pete).  A lot is expected and they have to come up to the mark - Hope springs eternal and all that.

Before the season starts I hope to have a closer look at our white ball prospects but there are a couple things to get to grips with in terms of that  yet so I'll leave that for later in March.