Like a lot of Somerset supporters I am taking a close look at the Lewis Gregory contract situation at the moment, or as close as we can. But I am not overly concerned that he has yet to extend his current deal. That is not to say I don’t rate Lewis Gregory, far from it in fact. Lewis is one of the most precocious talents in English cricket and a vital player for us and one I would like to see play for Somerset for many years to come. But I am not going to get carried away and start creating conspiracy theories simply because he is considering his options. Let’s apply a little logical thought here!
Lewis has the right to sign a new contract only when he is good and ready and, I have to say, if I was advising the player, I would suggest he sign towards the end of this campaign not the beginning or middle. If Lewis has a good season, takes a bucket load of wickets, continues to fulfil his enormous potential with the bat and leads our t20 campaign to the qualifying stages, then his stock will rise and therefore his powers of negotiation for a better package. And I haven’t even mentioned the County Championship. Yet.
Lewis is signed to Somerset for this season at least and any suggestion that he won’t be committed to the cause is simply ridiculous. He has played his heart out whenever he has worn the Wyvern, including this season. The session on Sunday afternoon when he bowled brilliantly in tandem with the equally impressive Craig Overton to reduce Notts to 28 for 5 was match winning. The away team were always up against it after that burst.
A symptom of having a great squad is that players like Lewis will always attract attention. I must admit when I first heard rumours that other counties had made 28-day approaches I thought this was just hearsay gone wrong, a case of two plus two equals five. But Andy Hurry confirmed at the recent Q&A that approaches had been made and Lewis was prepared to listen to what they had to say.
And why shouldn’t he? I think any professional in any situation would be well placed to listen to any opportunities to improve their wealth and worth. Cricket is a short career in the grand scheme of things. And a ruthless one. A cricketer’s once promising career can be cut short after one or two indifferent seasons, and there will always be a few whippersnappers coming through the Academy wanting to take their place.
Not that I think Lewis’s place is at risk, but you get my point!
There are other elements to consider here too. Lewis is desperate to follow Craig Overton, Jack Leach and Dom Bess into the England team. And one day I think he will fulfil those ambitions, as he appears to be the heir apparent to Jimmy Anderson, but he will almost certainly have to be patient and allow the great man to retire from international cricket first. And that will be the same wherever he plies his trade.
There is also the aged-old argument that bowling week-after-week on the Taunton wicket could prove detrimental to any fast bowler’s international cricketing ambitions. Well it hasn’t done Craig Overton any harm and, if I recall accurately, Andy Caddick had a pretty decent international career too which was actually realised because he played for Somerset at Taunton, not despite it.
Good players can bowl on any wicket. And Lewis Gregory is a damn good bowler.
And I have heard the rumours of a private situation. But I simply won’t comment on that – not my business.
Lewis will be getting the right advice at Somerset. Jason Kerr is highly thought of by the players he has nurtured from their formative years and his views will be taken very seriously by Gregs. Likewise from Andy Hurry – as good a man manager as you will find.
I am sure they are telling Lewis that Somerset is the place to fulfil his cricket ambitions and the grass is not always greener on the other side.
I truly hope Lewis opts to stay at Taunton. He has been a key player in helping Somerset to the summit of the County Championship after three wins and two draws in our first five games. He was a key player in an exciting 50-over campaign where we fell only slightly short but played some good cricket. And he will be our captain in what promises to be an exciting t20 tournament.
Let’s get behind him and the others and do what we do best. And enjoy the fact that we are doing well at the moment because, such moments can be few and far between. Ask any Somerset fan!