At slightly after 12pm today Matt Maynard and Guy Lavendar entered a room at the Cooper Associates County Ground where a collection of local press representatives and photographers were assembled to learn the identity of Somerset’s new captain in four-day cricket. Following behind was Tom Abell so before any word was even spoken the question was answered and young Tom will be the man charged with leading Somerset’s cricketers into battle in the County Championship in 2017.
The incredibly popular 22-year-old opening batsman has played 32 first-class matches since his debut against Warwickshire at Taunton in 2014, where he so nearly entered the history books by being the first Somerset player to score a century on his first class debut since Harold Gimblett in 1935. Even though he fell slightly short on 95 this was a sensational introduction to first class cricket and since then he has gone from strength to strength, averaging 31.37 while scoring three centuries. And he will get even better.
Abell replaces Chris Rogers as skipper, following the former Australia Test opener’s retirement in September. Taunton-born Abell spoke very well at the press conference saying: “I feel hugely privileged and humbled. To follow on from some of the previous captains of the club who are listed on the honours board in the pavilion is an incredible feeling and something that I don’t think will sink in for a while.”
Tom is hugely popular with the club’s supporters and his fellow players and will be able to call on some very experienced players in the dressing room for advice, including Trescothick, Trego, Hildreth and Allenby.
The club’s supporters are already making public their support of this appointment on social media and Tom will be afforded the time to settle in as captain. There will be some who question Tom’s age but I believe if you are good enough you are old enough. And Tom is good enough. If you don’t believe me then ask all the club and county cricketers who have shared a changing room with Tom!
This is a fabulous appointment by the club and highlights Somerset’s forward thinking. Tom is one of us and hails from Taunton and dreamt as a youngster of playing for Somerset. He will now enter the field of play as captain. With such a large crop of talented youngsters at the club this appointment highlights that Matt Maynard is thinking of not just the season ahead but beyond as Tom can be skipper for many years to come.
It is incredibly exciting. Well done to Matt and to Somerset for showing such vision and we all, of course, wish Tabes the very best of luck and hope he joins the exclusive club of Somerset captains who have led the county to silverware.
Jim Allenby remains in charge of the limited-overs sides.