Somerset appoint Thomas ‘white ball’ captain for 2015 campaign

Alfi 3Somerset have split the captaincy role for the new season with Alfonso Thomas taking over the reins in one-day and T20 cricket, while Marcus Trescothick continues to lead the side in the County Championship.

Giving Thomas his full support, Trescothick backed the veteran fast bowler to do a “great job” as ‘white ball’ captain and pledged to work closely with him.

The former England opener has captained the club in all formats of the game for the past five seasons. Speaking at the club’s media day yesterday, he welcomed the move to split the captaincy, saying the role had been “pretty demanding”.

Thomas is no stranger to the role of captain having taken charge of Somerset for seven first-class matches, four List A matches and 29 T20 matches in the past. The highlight of his captaincy came in 2011 when he led Somerset to the semi-finals of the Champions League. Most recently he captained the county in four of last season’s NatWest T20 Blast games.

Somerset Director of Cricket Matt Maynard discussed the captaincy with Trescothick shortly after joining the club last October and both agreed it was right to make a change given the unique pressures that come with leading a county side in three demanding competitions.

Speaking at the club’s media day yesterday, Maynard said: “It’s a very taxing job, captaincy. It’s not just about what happens on the pitch, there’s a lot of time away from the hours of play that you’re involved. If we can release a bit of the burden on Marcus’s shoulders I believe that would help the whole club going forward.”

Maynard said that Trescothick’s love of captaining the side in the four-day game had not diminished and it was clear that he wanted to continue to lead the side in the championship.

“So that was a very easy decision,” he said, “but we also agreed that maybe it would be a good idea to take a back seat and maybe just relax and enjoy the T20s and one-dayers without the added responsibility of captaincy.

“And therefore Alfonso was the immediate successor for me and I’m delighted that he accepted. Alfonso has played a huge amount of T20 cricket in the last few seasons both here and abroad. He has tasted success in the IPL, the BPL and the Big Bash. His experiences of the intricacies of the T20 game at the highest level make him the ideal captain for the shorter form of the game.

“He’s had experience of captaining before and with the wealth of knowledge that he has I’m sure he’ll help develop the players and create an atmosphere out in the middle that the players are really going for. And Marcus will be chirpy as anything on the pitch without too many things to think about, so I think it’s a nice fit all-round.”

Tres5Trescothick agreed: “I think it’s almost a welcome break. I’ve been doing the job full-time for five years, it’s pretty demanding and you get to periods in your career where you think, ‘ok, let’s  start changing direction a little bit’ or concentrate more on one thing or doing what you’ve got to do differently.

“It’s always evolving and you need different stimulants for the team to move forward sometimes. I think it’s the next process really for the team evolving years down the line.”

Promising Thomas his full support, Trescothick said: “He’ll do a great job. No doubt about it. We’ve seen him do it already last season and he brings different things to it than I would have brought, which is good.

“We’ll work closely together, we’ve got a good relationship, we’re amongst the management team anyway, so it works quite nicely and the fit that comes together will be good for us.”

Thomas said he wouldn’t see to change too many things but said developing the club’s promising young bowlers was one of his key targets as captain.

“It’s important that we look after our youngsters. If you look at our record here over the last 12-48 months it’s probably not been as good as it has in the past. So I think one thing we have identified in one-day game is to try get the youngsters coming through and to just try and be brave really and obviously try and play entertaining cricket and hopefully that will get the crowds coming in.”

Maynard added that Thomas was recovering well from the freak accident he sustained while playing golf last October when he broke an ankle in a fall.

“He’s recovering well from his injury and all being well be available for selection from probably the second or maybe the third championship match of the summer.”

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