Somerset keeper-batsman Alex Barrow has been rewarded for his return to form in the Second XI with a recall to the senior side for today’s (Sunday) West Country derby against Gloucestershire in the Royal London One-Day Cup.
Barrow scored two half-centuries in the Seconds’ recent win over Kent and will today make his first appearance for the first XI since early June when Michael Bates took over behind the stumps.
Bates has been widely acclaimed for his wicket-keeping and his reliability behind the stumps has been credited with bringing an increased confidence in Somerset’s bowling and out-fielding. However, he has failed to make a sizeable contribution with the bat, although he did play an excellent supporting role to Tom Cooper on Friday when Somerset took 70 off the last five overs against Worcestershire.
Barrow’s inclusion is the only change to the 13-man squad heading for Bristol today, with Somerset looking to follow up their 56-run win over Worcestershire, their first in the tournament, with another victory.
Gloucestershire also won on Friday, away to Leicestershire, their second nail-biting last ball victory in a row. On their own ground today, in front of their home crowd, they will present a tough challenge to Matt Maynard’s younger looking side, who fired with bat and ball against Worcestershire.
The Somerset Director of Cricket said: “I think it will be a very interesting game on Sunday and again a lot will depend on the conditions and how they set the ground up. We expect small boundaries and a pretty decent wicket that will be slowish and it may spin a little bit, but we will just have to wait and see.
“Gloucestershire are a dangerous side there is no doubt about it. We played well there to win in the NatWest T20 Blast and we should take heart from that and the energy levels in the Somerset team are just terrific to see.
Maynard added: “I think the public are appreciating what we are trying to do here and their support has been great. I’m sure there will be a great crowd up there on Sunday and we want to do the shirt proud again.”
The Somerset squad for th
s game is: Jim Allenby (capt), Tom Abell, Alex Barrow, Tom Cooper, Lewis Gregory, Tim Groenewald, James Hildreth, Adam Hose, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Peter Trego and Max Waller
Meanwhile Michael Klinger says Gloucestershire will take confidence from their NatWestT20 Blast win over Somerset when their local rivals visit today.
The skipper made 58 to help his side to an eight-wicket victory at Taunton last month and will be hoping for a repeat performance in the Royal London One-Day Cup.
He said: “We beat them a couple of weeks ago in the shorter format and we will definitely take confidence from the T20 into the one-dayers.
“The boys enjoy playing against them so all we want is a decent day and a big crowd in and I’m sure it’ll be a competitive game.”
Gloucestershire currently sit fourth in the table, only behind the two teams above them on run rate, while Somerset are sixth. The Bristol based county also finished above their neighbours in the NatWest T20 Blast.
But Klinger says he doesn’t expect that to have much of a bearing on the match and anticipates a hard-fought contest today.
He said: “They got over the line in a close T20 game here, and we had a win down there so it should be tight. But don’t forget they’re in Division 1 in the Championship.
“It would be wrong to say they are stronger or weaker in the T20 or in this competition. They are a very good side in all formats.”
Both teams posted over 300 in their last matches and boast Royal London One-Day Cup centurions in their ranks. Gareth Roderick scored 104 for Gloucestershire at Leicester, while Tom Cooper made the same total against Durham.
But for all the runs, Klinger believes it is the bowlers that could hold the key and is backing his attack to be a real force in the Royal London One-Day Cup
He said: “50 over cricket is very different to T20 with a new ball at each end and it will be a different style of cricket but we’ve got guys who are in good form who I’m confident will perform well.
“I think that our bowlers can be a real strength for us in this competition.”
Key men: If the wicket turns, Jack Leach could again be the danger man for Somerset. He contained Durham well on Wednesday and claimed three wickets against Worcestershire on Friday. Somerset will hope he can keep the dangerous Klinger in check today. Craig Overton also took three wickets on Friday and hit 49 from just 25 balls against Durham and is having a fantastic season. With the bat, Tom Cooper is in tremendous form, helping Somerset to post two consecutive scores in excess of 300 in the tournament.
Stat Watch: Pete Trego needs one more wicket to reach 150 wickets in List A cricket. The milestone will be particularly sweet if he can achieve it against Somerset’s oldest rivals in a winning cause. Good luck Pete!