Somerset have rewarded one of their brightest most promising home-grown talents, Tom Abell with a four-year contract, which will keep him at the club until 2019.
Taunton-born Abell, who was named Young Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year for 2013, announced himself with an innings of 95 under pressure on first-class debut against Warwickshire last summer.
The 21-year-old, who has recently completed his exams at Exeter University has clearly impressed Somerset Director of Cricket since his arrival at the club.
Maynard said: “I’ve seen something that I really like in Tom. I like his character, I like what he has to offer and he’s got a lot of talent. We are delighted that he’s signed a deal that will keep him here until 2019. He is highly thought of and hopefully in the years to come we will see him go on to big things because he certainly has the temperament to do it.”
Tom was delighted to sign his new contract. “To say that I’m chuffed to bits is an understatement,” he said. “Matt Maynard took me to one side when we were heading up to Durham last week and outlined the club’s plans so I was over the moon to sign. Playing for Somerset is always something that I have wanted to do and this gives me the platform to hopefully progress over the next few years and establish myself in the team”
Abell has been a prolific scorer since his time at Taunton School where he was awarded the Young Widen honour for a 2012 season in which he accumulated 1,156 runs at the extraordinary average of 193. He made seven hundreds in 11 innings that summer and passed 50 every time. He also won the Cricket Society’s Wetherell Award for best all-rounder in schools cricket in 2012.
In WEPL league cricket, he has proved a prodigious talent, scoring 770 runs in 2014, with a highest score of 185* at an average of 128.33, to help his club side Taunton CC earn promotion at the end of last season.
Abell continued to score heavily when promoted to the Somerset Second XI and was Somerset’s second XI player of the season in 2013. His form for the seconds in 2014, including an unbeaten seven-hour 205 against MCC Universities and a four-hour 127 against Gloucestershire, led him to make that first-team debut against Warwickshire at Taunton last August.
He impressed many observers during that innings, particularly with his maturity as other more experienced Somerset batsmen got out cheaply at the other end. In the end, he fell just five runs short of becoming the first Somerset-born player to register a century on their Championship debut since Harold Gimblett in 1935.
Abell contributed two more half-centuries in his next three Championship matches at the end of last summer and found himself back in the first XI at the beginning of this season, missing only the games against Durham and Worcestershire while he completed his exams.
Pressed into action as an opener in early spring conditions this year, he has struggled a little, making 163 runs in 11 innings at an average of 16.30 with his highest score of 62 coming against Yorkshire at Taunton in late May. He also made 43 earlier that month against New Zealand.
However, there is no doubt among those who have watched his progress that Abell has the ability to go all the way in the game. Somerset are making a wise investment for the future in securing his services for the next four years.