James and Kasey back from India and raring to go

Kasey Aldridge and James Rew were back training at the Cooper Associates County Ground earlier this week after from India where they had been touring with England Lions.

James, who turned 20 in January, and Kasey, who is 23, enjoyed their best seasons to date last summer and were rewarded with selection for the Lions tour to the subcontinent.

James, who last year topped 1000 First Class runs, scoring five centuries in the process, said: “It’s always good to get back home, and I feel like I’ve been away quite a lot this winter. I’m enjoying being back in training and catching up with the boys again. Later this week I’m looking forward to catching up with the players who went out to Sri Lanka as well.

“We’ll be going to Abu Dhabi as a whole squad quite soon. That’s the first time that we’ll all be back together again, so I’m looking forward to going away again shortly.”

Regarding the Lions tour James said: “I enjoyed the trip to India a lot, and it’s a very different experience. The India side we played were a really good team. They played well in their own conditions and made it hard for us. I feel like I’ve learned a lot and spoken to some very knowledgeable people. I definitely feel like I’ve got a lot from it.”

What is James hoping for this coming season?

“I don’t want to look too far ahead,” he said. “I just want to try and start well. I almost need to put last season behind me, ignore everything and start from scratch again.”

Kasey, who scored over 450 runs last summer at an average of 41 and claimed 16 First Class wickets also enjoyed his time overseas. “I had a great time with the Lions out in India,” he said. “Now it’s good to be back here with the boys. I’m looking forward to Abu Dhabi and then cracking on with the season.

“Last year I felt good with the bat, and I’ve been working on all parts of my game so I’m really looking forward to the summer now.”

“India was a tough place to go and play as we found out. However, to go out and play in different conditions was a great learning experience for me.”

Kasey will be looking to build on what was a successful year in 2023. He was a part of the Somerset side that won the Vitality Blast last summer and he feels that the experience will help him as his career develops. “I loved winning the Blast and it was a great experience,” he explained. “I feel very privileged to have been able to play in that competition because it was only my third year on the staff. There are others who have played longer and not had that chance, so it was a pleasure to just be out there with the boys, and it was great for the fans as well.

“I think that the experience I gained from that will help me this coming summer and it can’t come soon enough for me.”

Looking ahead to the coming season, Kasey said: “As a team we’d love to win the County Championship. That’s the same for everyone. Personally, I want to carry on with what I did with my batting last year, claim a few more wickets and try to influence games. I think I’m getting to the age now where I have to start performing and putting the other teams under pressure.”