Director of Cricket Matt Maynard, who has been fully involved with all of the sessions in the Indoor School said: “I am really happy with the way things have gone here since Christmas. We’ve had the bowling machines on full pace with short deliveries and varying lengths and big swings so they have been tough sessions.
“We have varied that with the players’ own nets when they decide what they want to do and then on Thursday we had a T20 day.
“All of the cricket skills have come on really nicely but the guys are pretty tired now and have been working really hard. They fully deserve their break this week.”
When the Somerset players return on 23 February they have just over a week at the County Ground before heading off for their pre-season training camp in south east Spain.
Matt explained: “A lot of the work in terms of the team will be done in Desert Springs, but in terms of the player’s skills what we have been doing here has been great. We have had some really good feedback from the bowlers and the batters as well.”
However Matt is anxious that he doesn’t want the players to peak too soon.
“We have got six weeks to go before the start of the season and I think we have to be very careful because we don’t want them peaking in March when there are no games. The guys are quite advanced now, look in good touch and are getting their game plans together, so I think a week off will give them a bit of down time and time to think.
“They are all physically shattered because we have worked them really hard which is great, so the week off will give them a chance to get their energy levels back up.”
One player who is making the trip to Desert Springs a little earlier than the rest of the Somerset squad is batsman-keeper Alex Barrow, who is flying to Spain this week to join up with the Tom Maynard Academy.
The 22 year old is looking forward his trip. He said: “It will be good to challenging myself in different areas and it’ll be great to get out there and play cricket in the sunshine. Matt Maynard has got a few things planned for us that will make it an enjoyable and beneficial trip for us.”
Talking about what he has been working on so far this winter Alex said: “I have done a lot of work on all aspects of my ‘keeping with Paul Tweddle and have worked tirelessly on my batting as well so I have been kept pretty busy in my build-up for the trip. It’s a training camp out in Desert Springs and we have got a couple of T20 matches on the last day. What I do over there with my skills and in the gym work will all be relevant to me and linked into what I do back at the County Ground.”
Alex added: “It will be great to get a change of environment, get a few different opinions on certain things and meet a few players I have met in the past and also some new faces.”
Matt, who is leading the coaching team that also includes wicket-keeper Paul Nixon said: “This was all arranged at this time last year, before I got the job at Somerset but it’s going to be a great trip because Desert Springs is a really good venue.”
Explaining the background Matt said: “The Academy was set up in Tom’s memory to help players who are in the first or second years of their contract or in the final year of a County Academy, which is the range we are looking at, to develop, but every so often we get a more senior player. I write to all of the County Head Coaches and Academy Directors asking them which players they recommend.”
Talking specifically about Alex the DOC said: “We are taking Baz over with us this time and he is likely to be one of the more senior players there even though he is only 22. It will be interesting to see how he interacts with different groups of people and what leadership skills he shows. It isn’t just all about cricket and working on skills it’s also about developing attributes that are fundamental in developing good cricketers and good people.”