No limits for Somerset says captain Abell
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Somerset captain Tom Abell believes there are no limits for his side, as they prepare to start a new County Championship campaign this week.
They head to Lord's to take on Middlesex in a revamped competition on Thursday (April 8), having lost to Essex in the final of the Bob Willis Trophy at the end of the truncated 2020 season.
And 27-year-old Abell feels his squad have what it takes to be successful in any format, saying: "I don’t want to put any limitations on ourselves. We have aspirations to win all three competitions and believe we have the ability to do that with the depth and competition we have.
"It will be tough, with challenges along the way, but we’re getting better as a squad, learning from the experience of the last couple of years.
"We're a very driven group, we had a taste of success in 2019 (Royal London One-Day Cup) and certainly want to feel it again. The quality at the club fills me with a huge amount of confidence, I don’t see why we shouldn’t compete across all formats."
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Abell scored 88 runs for once out in Somerset's final pre-season game against Glamorgan, with Tom Lammonby making a second innings century and several others spending valuable time at the crease.
And the skipper says they cannot wait to start competitive red-ball cricket, adding: "The mood is brilliant. There’s a great energy around the club and the atmosphere has been fantastic all winter.
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"The way the boys have gone about their business has been fantastic and it’s a credit to the coaching staff, who have gone above and beyond with so many players here over the winter.
"We’re not content with where we’ve been and want to keep raising the bar. There’s always great energy at this time of year and the guys want to get stuck in.
"The way our group is managed is phenomenal. There is clearly a lot of competition in our group but the management of every player has been phenomenal. Individuals have aspirations and goals but I don’t think we could ask for any more."
South African fast bowler Marchant de Lange has joined as the club's overseas player and made a good early impression, with Abell adding: "As a character he is exactly what you want. He’s 100 per cent, a great bloke and will give it everything.
"He has fitted in seamlessly, brings that X-factor with the ball and complements an already skilled attack. We’re excited to have him at the club and hope he takes us one better this year."
Coach Jason Kerr echoed some of those sentiments, saying: "There’s a huge amount of confidence from last year. The skill levels were off the charts, we were outstanding, especially with the ball.
"With the emergence of young players, the group has taken a huge amount of confidence and we’re incredibly excited about the season and what we can achieve.
"You can never have too many (good batsmen at the top of the order) and we created a lot of opportunity in pre-season. Tom Lammonby had an outstanding season last year, but Ben Green, Eddie Byrom and Tom Banton have all had opportunities and it will fall to those."
Kerr was also pleased to see Jack Leach back at Taunton, following his winter tour with England, and impressed by the efforts of several youngsters, who he expects to benefit further from the return of second XI action this year.
He said: "We're immensely pleased for him (Jack Leach), he had a tough 18 months up to that point, but he has trained with us and you can see where his game is at now and we’re excited to have him on board.
"Six weeks of pre-season has been invaluable, we’ve not been affected by the weather and we’ve rested and rotated some of the senior guys.
"Sonny Baker and Ned Leonard have been excellent with the ball and didn’t look out of place. Lewis Goldsworthy and Tom Smeed are really exciting and we’ve got second XI cricket available, with competition for places greater than it has ever been which is great for the long-term future of the club.
"It’s huge, it’s four-day cricket and a great platform for the guys to come into the first team with confidence. It’s testament to the work done behind the scenes by the club.
"With how hectic the schedule is this year, there is limited time going into the Blast, so it’s an opportunity to hone those skills. The modern-day cricketer is adaptable but in a perfect world you would have time to prepare everybody.
"We’ve worked on the skills, culture and environment and the young lads coming in have driven the standards. Tom Smeed joined recently and has got an incredible work ethic in the gym, putting one or two to shame. It’s down to the guys, their willingness to work, their growth mindset, is like nothing I’ve seen before."