Somerset’s new Director of Cricket Matthew Maynard met the press at the County Ground in Taunton for the first time on his first day in his new role and said that he expected his adopted county to challenge for trophies from the very start of his tenure.
He said: “We want to bring the Championship here. I have very fond memories of 1997 (the year he led his former club Glamorgan to the title as captain) and it would be very nice to do it again with a Somerset hat on!”
Maynard spent the morning meeting the staff and was delighted that so many of the support team had been at the club for so long as this “made them feel part of the furniture” and “proud to be here.” He added: “I’ve been meeting all the staff today and getting to know the club which is very important.”
Asked about his first impressions of Somerset he recognised the enormous potential and aspirations of the club, saying: “We have some wonderful players here who are ambitious and the club is very forward thinking. It’s a very ambitious club.”
So would the team need an awful lot of work ahead of the new season, he said: “From the outside, I would say no! It looks like we have the right mix of senior players, good young promising players coming through and a couple of players in their mid-twenties. We will be selective who we look to bring in and when we do that. But I can’t really say much more than that until I have had the chance to meet the senior players and get their views on what the side needs. I have got my own opinions but it will be interesting to see.”
Did the new DOC feel he would need to make many new signings to bolster the squad he has inherited from the outgoing David Nosworthy?
“I wouldn’t have thought so, no. Obviously one or two gaps appeared but the work Guy has done securing the young players (to new contracts) is key. It gives an opportunity for them to get used to me as a coach and I can see their talent and how far that talent can take them.
“I never believe in producing players to play County Cricket, they have to have that ambition of playing for England. And the skill level to play for England. If they don’t get selected there is nothing I can do about that but it is about getting the names in the frame.”
“I’m very happy with the coaching structure. Jason Kerr has done an incredible job developing all those players through the Academy, into the 2nd XI and now he is working with those players in the first team.
“And Dave Houghton was brought in having played the game for a long time. I have played a lot of times against Davie and also worked with him at the ECB and know how he works and he is a good fit so I’m looking forward to meeting with him later. He was obviously with the first team last summer but I envisage myself as taking that role next year but I am sure there is a role for Davie Houghton because he is a good man to have around at Somerset.”
With the skipper Marcus Trescothick back to his best in 2014 and one of the key, experienced players at the club would Matt be tapping into his knowledge too? He said: “Very much so, I would be mad not to. But he is not the only man at the club and it is important to talk to the other senior players at the club too as well as some of the younger players. I will look at their opinions as to how they see the club can go forward if indeed it needs much.
After so many near misses in recent seasons the club’s army of supporters are desperate for success, so was that highlighted to him during discussions with Guy Lavender and Andy Nash?
“It’s not rocket science – it is a very ambitious club. The development is going on here, there are ambitions for international Cricket and the club wants some silverware so all those three things combined is why you want to join a club like Somerset.
“I met Guy last year and he impressed me then, as did the chairman, and I am looking forward to getting back to work with Marcus and Alfonso and the other players too.”
So has he decided when the players will report back and has he set the winter schedule?
“There is a programme already in place and I won’t interfere with that. That would be wrong as it has been in place for a number of years but I will monitor that to see how that goes this year. I am a firm believer in players playing overseas and I will try not to bring them back just to go into an indoor school so they can stay a little bit longer than January and we will see them back in March.”
So did he think the club was going through a rebuilding phase or did he expect the club to compete for trophies immediately?
“I would hope so. There are some key, experienced players and we cannot build for the next four years because they may not be here in four years’ time. So we will be looking to get up there and win some silverware next year. Without that ambition there is no point in turning up in March.”
Chief Executive Guy Lavender called Matthew Maynard the “best fit for us” and a man who can “bring the club forward.” He opened the press conference and spoke of the reasons why Maynard was selected.
“The appointment of a Director of Cricket is an absolutely crucial one and we are delighted that Matt has joined us. He’s been involved in the game for many years and has a tremendous track record as a player, a captain and as a coach. We have spent the morning going through our plans and the winter provides a good time to build and prepare for the 2015 season.
“I am confident that he will bring a lot to Somerset and we are looking forward to starting this journey together. We think he’s an outstanding leader & communicator and he is a man of great integrity & knowledge. We are very excited that he is here.”
Maynard arrives in Taunton with a huge pedigree and heaps of experience. The 48 year-old spent the whole of his 20-year playing career with Glamorgan where he made 395 First Class appearances scoring nearly 25,000 runs at an average of 42.53 and led the Welshmen to their only County Championship title in 1997. He played international Cricket for England in 4 Test Matches between 1988 and 1994 and 14 One Day Internationals between 1994 and 2000.
From 2004 to 2007 he was England’s assistant coach and he has coached successfully in South Africa. In 2012, his first year in charge of Nashua Titans, he led them to both the domestic four-day and T20 titles and was named Coach of the Year by Cricket South Africa.
It would appear he has long term ambitions at the County Ground as Maynard also said he was relocating to the west country and was looking for a house in the area already.