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Alfonso takes next step on the road to recovery

Alfi4Alfonso Thomas has flown to Spain to link up with the Tom Maynard Academy as part of the next stage of his recovery after breaking his ankle in the autumn.

The County Ground favourite will be based at the Desert Springs facility in south-east Spain, where the full Somerset squad will also hold their own training camp next week.

Speaking before his departure, Thomas said: “I go out to Spain this week and I am really looking forward to it. I have just looked at the temperatures out there and it said 23C which is about 16 degrees warmer than it is here!”

Talking about his recovery Fonz said: “I think we are pretty much on course with where we want to be at this stage. On Monday I had a bowl at about 80% in the Indoor School which went really well.

“Now I am going out to Spain to link up with the Tom Maynard Academy where I will get the chance to bowl outside for three days and if all goes well I will be flying back out to Desert Springs with the rest of the squad next Wednesday.”

Somerset’s Alex Barrow is already in Spain as part of this year’s Tom Maynard Academy intake and Thomas is looking forward to meeting up with his county team mate.

He said: “I will be doing some bowling and also doing some coaching with the Tom Maynard Academy. I’ll probably bowl against Baz who is out there which I am looking forward to!”

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Thomas, who topped Somerset’s bowling averages in the LV=County Championship last season, is one of a number of the county’s players who recently gained their ECB Level 2 Coaching Award, so the chance to be helping out on the Tom Maynard Academy is the ideal opportunity for him.

“Coaching is something that I would like to go into in years to come and this is a great chance for me to give something back to the game. This is a first stepping stone and will be a very interesting experience as well.”

The Fonz, who set a new county record of four wickets in four balls last season, added: “There is a great buzz about the place here at the County Ground and everybody has been working very hard over the last couple of months, but now the boys are keen to get outside. They’re looking forward to getting out to Spain and feeling the sunshine on their backs – just like I am!”

Barrow gaining valuable experience with the Academy

Barrow has been out at Desert Springs with the Tom Maynard Academy since last Thursday and says he is loving every minute of it.

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On Tuesday evening the 22 year old batsman /wicket-keeper said: “The training camp is going really well and the facilities are very impressive. It’s just a shame that my golf is awful as I don’t do the course any justice whatsoever!

“The standard or cricket has been really good and the group have gelled nicely amongst each other and it’s been great to be part of so far.”

Talking about the people he is involved with at Desert Springs he said: “It’s been great working with coaches like Matt (Maynard), Ian Harvey, and Paul Nixon. It’s good to get a different eye on things with different ideas. Paul Nixon has kept at the top level so I’ve been picking his brains on various things. The calibre of people we’ve had come in to help on the trip is a credit to the Tom Maynard Trust. They’ve all worked at the highest level so the amount of knowledge they can pass on is great.

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“As a player it’s nice to see and talk to players you’ve played against in the past that you don’t know too much about. It’s interesting to see how different people play the game and think about it.”

Barrow added: “I’m sure the Somerset boys will enjoy the camp when they fly out next week just as I am now.”

Tom and Jack making good recoveries from injury

Meanwhile, while almost all of the other members of the Somerset squad have been enjoying a well-earned break from their training routines, batsman Tom Abell and left arm spinner Jack Leach have been at the County Ground as part of their rehabilitation programmes for recent injuries.

Talking about his winter so far Abell said: “My winter has gone really well and I have been training very hard at Exeter University. Now I am really looking forward to the trip to Spain and the chance to spend some time in and around the rest of lads.”

Talking about his injury, the Taunton Cricket Club opener said: “I took a blow to my right index finger during training and had a small operation to repair it. However everything has gone really well and the surgeon was very happy with the way that things went. I am now getting my movement back and will be starting with some soft ball work and will go on from there.”

Abell went on: “These are exciting times at the County Ground with everything that is going on and I am absolutely loving being part of the whole set up. The atmosphere here is really positive with Matt at the head of things and he has brought something really fresh and exciting to the Club. Everyone is feeling really positive.”

He added: “Hopefully this year I can really step on and make an impact. Now is the time we all want to get going but we have got to be patient.”

Left arm spinner Leach said: “My winter has been good and I have been really busy. My training has been going really well and in addition I have now completed my ECB Level 2 Coaching Award.

“I have done a lot of work with Jason Kerr on my bowling but we have discovered I have got an issue with my shins which is called chronic excertional compartment syndrome, which means that the muscles in my shins aren’t working as well as they should.

“This has been going on for a couple of years now and it has got worse, so now we are sorting it out which is great and will massively help me especially when I’m bowling long spells. I am really excited about what I will be able to do now that we have sorted it out.”

Jack went on: “Now I’m ready to go off to Spain with the rest of the squad and it will be the first time that everyone will be together ahead of the season so it will be great.”

He added: “Then when we get back it’s into pre-season outside here. However there is still a little while to go yet and this injury has given me a break from bowling and a chance to re-think and reassess what I want to take into the new season.”