Scotland World Cup star Josh Davey will make his first-team debut for Somerset tomorrow (Friday) when they take on New Zealand in a four-day tour game at Taunton.
Davey, who was one of the leading wicket-takers in the group stages of the World Cup, has been named in the team which will take on the Kiwis.
However, the all-rounder is the only new face in the Somerset XI as Director of Cricket Matt Maynard keeps faith with the players who lost Somerset’s first three Championship three games of the season.
Maynard believes the game offers the chance for the players to regain some form ready for their next championship match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
Maynard said: “We are very much looking forward to the visit of New Zealand and it presents us with the opportunity to get some form under our belts for the upcoming Notts game. The Kiwis are a good side and we will be putting a strong side out.
“Josh Davey will be making his first team debut and full credit to him for what he has done in the Seconds this year where he has performed well. He’s been the outstanding player so far and fully deserves his chance.”
The Director of Cricket added: “It’s a game we are taking very seriously and we will be pushing New Zealand as hard as we can. Hopefully we will see some warm weather and we will get good crowds in to watch us.”
Debutant Davey said: “I am very excited that I have been selected for Somerset to play against New Zealand on Friday, because it will be my first team debut for the club.
“This is big achievement for me and it is something that I have worked hard towards since the autumn of 2013 so I am really pleased and grateful to have the opportunity. It’s nice that all of the hard work that I have put in over the last 18 months has paid off and I have had a pretty successful 2015 already playing for Scotland in the World Cup.
“I just need to go out there now and do it on the bigger stage for Somerset in this match against New Zealand and show everybody what I can do. Hopefully some of the people who will be here will have read about how I got on playing for Scotland in the winter and now they have got a chance to put a face to the name.”
Davey, who made his first-class debut for Middlesex in 2010, was released by the county towards the end of the 2013 season. He has spent the whole of the following winter training with the Somerset squad, without payment, determined to have another crack at first class cricket before being offered a contract in 2014.
That dedication and determination has now started to pay off with a successful World Cup behind him and a string of strong performances for the Second XI already this season including an innings of 148 against Hampshire and plenty of wickets.
If Davey’s selection for this game was expected, many Somerset fans have been surprised today that there was no room in the squad for James Regan, given Alex Barrow’s lack of form with the bat.
Giving Barrow another opportunity to find his touch makes perfect sense. However, many fans felt Regan should also have played to allow the Taunton St Andrews batsman-keeper the chance to show what he could do in a first-class match environment.
Marcus Trescothick and Alfonso Thomas both miss the game along with Lewis Gregory who is away in Dublin with England, so in addition to Davey, Tom Abell comes back into the side after completing his studies and Pete Trego takes over the captaincy. Tim Groenewald who played in the opening two games of the season also returns in place of Thomas.
Academy youngster Ben Green, who has just returned from a successful trip to Australia with the England Under 19s is 12th man for the match.
New Zealand prepared for tomorrow’s game today by facing bowlers from the Somerset Academy in the nets at the County Ground.
The Somerset team is: Tom Abell, Johann Myburgh, Tom Cooper, James Hildreth, Jim Allenby, Alex Barrow, Peter Trego (capt), Josh Davey, Craig Overton, Tim Groenewald and Abdur Rehman
New Zealand XI: BJ Watling (capt), Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Jacob Duffy, Tom Latham, Luke Ronchi, Hamish Rutherford, Mitchell Santner, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, Ben Wheeler.
The Incider’s team of reporters will be at the New Zealand game over the next four days. Look out for all the latest news, match reports and reaction on the site!