Somerset have acted to secure the services of three of its brightest bowling talents on new three-year contracts.
The deal means that Lewis Gregory and twins Craig and Jamie Overton, who have all received England call-ups this year, will be with the club until the end of 2018.
Director of Cricket Matt Maynard hopes the trio, along with opening batsman Tom Abell who recently signed a four-year contract with the club, will form a strong nucleus to take the club forward into the future.
The county also announced today that it was extending the contract of wicket-keeper Michael Bates, who was released by Hampshire at the end of last season. Bates was originally signed by Somerset on a one-month deal and is already making an impact with the gloves.
Maynard said that Bates had done really well for the club during the past two weeks . He added that the challenge for him now was to score runs and said the contract extension would give him the opportunity to do that.
Maynard said: “Lewis, Craig and Jamie are outstanding cricketers with the potential to become even better. They have all performed extremely well this year and have rightly received international recognition. We are very pleased to have secured their services because they will be an absolutely vital part of this club for the years to come. They are great lads who offer a lot both on and off the field.”
Chief Executive Guy Lavender said: “The development of our own players remains vital to the long term future of the club. Investment and work in our talent development programme is an area that we view as a key priority. The emergence of Lewis, Craig and Jamie from that talent development programme reflects very positively on the system we have in place and our partnerships with our neighbouring counties. All three players have an exceptional cricketing future ahead of them and as they develop in their careers we are working extremely hard to nurture the next generation of Somerset players to follow in their footsteps.”
After signing on the dotted line Lewis said: “It’s really exciting. We’ve got a good squad here with a group of good young cricketers and I’m really happy that I’ll be with the club for a few more years. The group of young players that we’ve got are really talented and are pushing for international honours which is great for the club.”
Craig is also pleased to have extended his stay. “I’m delighted,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to play for Somerset and to sign for the next three years is really special for me. Hopefully the three of us can be a big part of the future of the club because that’s what we want to be. We’ve all come through the academy together so to be able to go out there and play first team cricket is something we’ve always wanted to do and it’s nice that we are doing it together.”
Jamie said: “I want to be able to do as much as I can for Somerset, so to sign up until 2018 is great. Twins always seem to do the same sort of things so for Craig to be signing as well is nice. We’re here together for the next few years so hopefully we can put in some good performances together.” It’s been a very good week for Jamie after he was invited to work with the England Test side ahead of this summer’s Ashes series.
Jamie revealed that he has been invited to help England with their preparations ahead of this summer’s Ashes series and will meet up with the squad tomorrow (Monday) where he will bowl to them in the nets ahead of the first Test in Cardiff later this week.
“I’m meeting up with the squad to bowl a few balls at them ahead of the first Test which I’m really looking forward to,” he said. “I’ll then stay with them for the first day before heading back home. It’s pretty exciting and you can only learn from being in that situation so hopefully it will stand me in good stead for the future.”