Somerset players praised for the creative way they have responded to the Covid-19 emergency
Andy Hurry has praised his Somerset players for the creative way they have responded to the Covid-19 emergency.
The director of cricket is keen to accentuate the positives during the huge frustration of not being able to embark on a season he had good cause to view with enormous optimism.
Hurry believes that, thanks to a Professional Cricketers’ Association initiative encouraging members to develop new skills while on furlough, his squad will emerge from the pandemic as more rounded individuals, better prepared for life after cricket.
And he has also been impressed by the response from players to being unable to train as a group since lockdown was introduced.
Hurry said: “We have been checking regularly on how each player is coping with the challenges Covid-19 and lockdown present and I have been really happy with what we have learned.
“Some have had exercise equipment installed in their homes and many are taking the opportunity to enrol on courses or finding other ways to broaden their skills outside of cricket.
“The PCA have been very proactive in suggesting how players can make best use of their time and it reflects what is going on throughout the country. We all have to make the best of what is a difficult situation.
“It is a time for alert minds. The biggest frustration is that we simply can’t plan ahead because there is no indication of how much cricket will be played.
“The likelihood is that players will first return to individual training, then in small groups and finally together. But there is no time scale on when each of those phases will happen.”
It was a hugely productive winter for a number of Somerset’s players, with Jack Leach and Dom Bess selected by England for the curtailed tour of Sri Lanka, while Bess, Tom Abell, Craig Overton and Lewis Gregory all played for the England Lions in Australia.
Gregory and Tom Banton both made their England T20 debuts, with Banton also making his first one-day international appearance in South Africa.
Other players like Eddie Byrom and Tom Lammonby played successfully abroad and there is every reason to believe Somerset’s squad is getting stronger by the season.
Hurry said: “While we are always confident going into a new season, in common with most other counties, there was special cause for optimism this year.
“Our developing players are a year older. A number have boosted their experience at international level, while others have extended their learning curve in other countries.
“That only made having to cancel our pre-season trip to Abu Dhabi the more disappointing. At the time it was a major decision that involved much consultation.
“We then put a plan in place for the squad to be split into two, with each group coming in on alternate days. But before we could implement that the lockdown was put in place.
“While we all hope there will be international cricket before too long and a shortened county programme to follow there are no guarantees.
“The health and safety of players, staff and spectators has to remain paramount.”