One of the new faces at the County Ground at the Media Day on Friday 8th April was young Scotsman Michael Leask, who accepted an invitation from Somerset in late 2015 to play in a couple of games for the club’s seconds before joining permanently during the winter for the 2016 season.
Leask, an explosive batsman and off-spinner, is a player of potential who looks set to compete for a place in Somerset’s limited overs teams in due course but as he explained exclusively to The Incider he hasn’t come here to be a squad player and wants to play in the club’s first teams at the earliest opportunity.
So how are you finding life at Somerset and how did the move come about?
“Yeah loving it, it’s really good. Matt came and worked with the Scottish team in a batting camp in January last year and I had a really good time at that batting camp and Matt clearly liked what he saw and invited me to Somerset.”
You are most famously known for that innings against England when you scored 42 runs in 16 deliveries which so nearly turned a lost cause into a famous win, what are your memories of that encounter?
“We were up against things needing a bit of impetus at that part of the innings so I just took it upon myself to try and hit the ball with the middle of the bat from ball one. I was kind of unlucky that I hit the ball to Jimmy (Anderson) in that position when I did because anyone smaller and it was another six and you never how close we may have got.
“But we gave them a scare. If you ask them when I was all gun’s blazing with that ball going for six then it may have been a different ball game – I might have kept going or might have been out next ball. That’s the way Cricket goes but that showed what I can do on a 20:20 level. I would like to show what I can do in the 50-over level as well.”
You have just returned from the World Cup with Scotland which seems to have been disappointing on a personal level?
“I didn’t get as many opportunities as I’d have liked. Obviously we were in India which has conditions more suited to spinner’s. Don’t get me wrong I played one game and didn’t have the greatest luck but, again, that’s Cricket. Everything off the field was great but on the field I would have liked to have played more Cricket.”
Your fellow Scot Josh Davey is already at Somerset and he has progressed well since joining up. Has having him here been a help to you?
“Yeah, having Davo here has helped me settle in a lot easier but the guys here who I played in a couple of 2’s games with last year have been so welcoming and so easy going. If I need to speak to anyone then they’re really happy to speak to me so all good.
“And they’re a really talented group. Look at young Tom Abell – just an absolutely fabulous player – and it was fantastic just to come down and bowl at these guys to start off with and now I get to call them team-mates. Totally different level.”
Taunton is often referred to a batting paradise and you like to put bat-to-ball so you must be really looking forward to stepping out at the County Ground in front of a big crowd?
“Looking at the ground it looks an absolutely lovely place to play and the facilities here are great – new nets and top training areas – so it’s a nice time to be around.”
What are your personal ambitions for the season?
“I would love to make my first team debut for Somerset this year and to be knocking on the door as hard as I can from the word go.
“T20 and one day Cricket is my main aim at the moment but who knows, I may have a really good three-day game with the seconds and push someone in the first team too. So my main aim is to make my first team debut for Somerset but I would like to push those in the 4-day team too.”
Good luck Michael!