Matt, who recently returned from 10 days away coaching Scotland in Dubai, spoke of his hopes to be able to rotate the seamers throughout the summer. He believes this will help keep the bowlers fit and offer skipper Marcus Trescothick a range of options on match days. Matt confirmed he intends to play two spinners in most games next season with one of Jack Leach, George Dockrell or Max Waller lining up alongside overseas signing Abdur Rehman.
With winter training now well underway, Matt is glad to be back at the County Ground after his time with Cricket Scotland.
“I missed it to be honest even after just a short period in the job” he said. “Whilst I was away a lot went on back here and the time difference between the two places helped a great deal because I was able to keep in regular contact with Guy (Lavender, Somerset CCC CEO) throughout the day. A lot has gone on but we set a lot of that up before I went away. There have been some big changes for the Club, probably more than I would have liked initially, some of which have been enforced and I think we have reacted very well to them.”
“I’m really looking forward to working with Steve Snell who is taking over running the Academy. I really like his attributes as a person and his enthusiasm for the job and I think that is a massive tick in his box.
“He has got a great knowledge of the game and I think he has been a key appointment.”
Attacking options for 2015
Talking about the squad, Matt said: “Nick Compton is leaving us and I would like to wish him every success in the future, and Jim Allenby, who is a very different sort of player, has joined us.
“Jim is a quality cricketer and a very good player. What he will allow us to do, depending on the wickets, is to go into games with two front line bowlers from the likes of Alfonso Thomas, Craig/Jamie Overton, Lewis Gregory, Tim Groenewald plus Pete Trego, Allenby and Abdur Rehman as well as another spinner. This gives the people like Jack Leach, George Dockrell and Max Waller a real opportunity to play First Class cricket with a high class spin bowler and learn from him, which gives the captain some great options.”
Matt went on: “I think this will help balance the side for later on in the summer and hopefully we can maintain a fit squad and rotate our seam bowlers throughout the course of the season.”
He added: “I am here virtually all the way through the rest of the winter now and even though it was nice to have fulfilled that commitment with Cricket Scotland in Dubai, I missed the County Ground and my mind was also back here in Somerset. I can now fully concentrate on what is going on here which is great.”
Vital pre-season camp
Matt also announced that as part of their pre-season preparations, Somerset will attend a pre-season camp in Spain in March. He explained: “We are going to Desert Springs in Almeria where there are good grass nets. This camp is going to be important for us because we will be setting our goals and targets for the summer as this is the first time that the squad will be all back together.”
He went on: “The work we get done during that eight days will be vital because it will give clarity and direction to how we are going to go about each competition, what our tactics will be for each of them and for individual games as well. There is a lot of work to be done there. What we do in Spain will set the tone for how we come back and prepare on the grass a month out from the start of the season.”
Snelly settles in
Meanwhile another new member of the Somerset coaching set-up is also settling in well.
Steve Snell, who was recently appointed as Somerset’s new Academy Director and Second XI Coach, met up with his new colleagues during November and started in the role full time yesterday (Tuesday).
Steve is well known to Somerset fans, having played a handful of games as replacement keeper in 2011 and 2012 and worked as a respected BBC commentator in the Potting Shed.
Speaking earlier this month, Steve said: “I am very pleased to have been appointed and it’s great to be joining a club where the Academy Programme is so well thought of across the country. Everybody speaks very highly of what is already in place here so to actually be involved and play my part is hugely pleasing.
“Initially I was going to start on January 5 but I will now be beginning here full time on December 9 so I wanted to come in and spend a bit of time [in November] so I can make sure that I am up to speed in terms of what the guys have been doing.”
Talking of his memories of the County Ground, Steve said: “I have got some good memories from my involvement at the County Ground for a whole variety of reasons. From a player perspective I remember being parachuted into a game here in 2011 from my hospital bed, but that was the pre-cursor for lots of good things that have happened since then.
Steve went on: “Seeing some of the guys over the last couple of days has really brought back some good memories of being out in India at the Champions League and having some good moments against some world class players.
“Similarly I have got some good memories of my time in the press box and up on the roof commentating in the old Potting Shed, which is no longer there! For a whole variety of reasons being here brings back a warm glow.”
Steve talked about his overall impression and said: “I have been so impressed from the start with the organisation and the communication from the very top, throughout the process of my appointment. When people say they are going to do things and then do them means a lot to me. I am impressed to see all the guys are back in already and just how hard they are all working. They certainly put in the hard yards with the physio and the strength and conditioning coach and you do get the sense of camaraderie about the place. Somerset is a very family orientated club and that is something I want to be involved with.”
Steve also spoke warmly of bowling coach Jason Kerr, who he said has been a big help in helping him settle in. He said: “Jason has been invaluable in getting me up to speed with what is needed from a whole variety of aspects including budgets, fixtures, coaching, the Academy players who are already here – there is so much for me to learn, and there is a lot to take on.”
Steve concluded: “This is a great time to come on board, especially with having a new Director of Cricket. I know Matt a little bit and my experience of him has been first class and the sort of guy he is will be fantastic for the club.
“Building towards pre-season from a coaching and organizational perspective will be a fresh experience for me in a new place and that is really exciting for me.”