With the team heading off to desert Springs today (Monday 6th March) thoughts will be firmly focused on the new season. Somerset have a new Championship captain of course and here Alex Simpson offers his views on Tom Abell.
On the 21st December, it was confirmed, to some supporter’s surprise, that Tom Abell will be the new Four Day Captain of Somerset CCC. The impressive youngster, who is mature beyond his years and is well regarded by all, has been given the task of leading a new, highly talented generation of Somerset players (of which he is part) to success.
Abell is lucky in some regards to his captaincy. Although he may only be 22, with under 40 First Class games experience, he is taking over at a stable club. The work done by Guy Lavender and co meaning he isn’t having to deal with external pressures on him such as financial problems. Then, he has got the vast experience of Tres, Hildy, Tregs, Allenby, Tim Groenewald and newcomer Steve Davies to utilise if he feels necessary. As well as all of this, he is taking over with the side on the up. Following the great, daring captaincy of Chris Rogers last season, he is taking over a side full of confidence rather than one down in the doldrums.
It will be interesting to see how he approaches games in charge. He has said that he wants to continue Rogers’ work and isn’t going to change too much, but his in-game approach will be interesting to see. I suspect he may be more cautious than Rogers due to his lack of experience, but we shall wait and see. The pitches at the Cooper Associates County Ground will be interesting as well. Due to the squad assembled by the club, he and Maynard have the options of producing either a green top to suit the seamers in Gregory, the Overtons, and Timmy G, or maintaining “Ciderabad”, and utilising Leach, Roela and Dom Bess.
I believe the initial stages of Abell’s reign should be about two words: Continuation and Transition. Continuing to build upon the successes of last season, and then beginning to transition the side away from a dependence on both Trescothick and Trego in terms of not just contributions, but also attitude and influence. Tres and Tregs have been very important for the club in recent years, but now is the time for the rest of the squad to start stepping up and reducing their importance to the side. What we want to avoid is a situation like we had a few years ago where we had senior players coming to the end of their career, but due to their importance in the side, it had a huge impact on the success of the side.
Overall, Abell’s appointment as Somerset captain is a positive one. It shows how much faith the management have in the club’s youth personnel, and from what I have seen and heard about his personality, he should be the right man to lead Somerset to glory. He has the support of the team, AND the support of the fans.