“What we need to do now is go out there and deliver.” – Jason’s season preview

We are now on the eve of the 2024 County Championship season.

Ahead of the new campaign, we caught up with Somerset Head Coach, Jason Kerr to discuss his thoughts going into the summer.

“First and foremost, we’re extremely excited,” he said. “Preparations have gone as well as they could have done, and we’ll be looking to hit the ground running.

“We have to do the simple things better than the opposition. Historically, when we’ve competed, we’ve been incredibly disciplined with the ball and we’ve accumulated valuable partnerships with the bat when we’ve needed to.

“We’ve invested a lot of work into how we’re going to play our cricket under Lewis’ leadership, and we’re excited to do that. Lewis will put his stamp on it as he’s demonstrated in white-ball cricket. There’s a calmness about his captaincy and he instils a sense of belief in people, allowing them to be the cricketers that they want to be. When you’ve got that freedom as a cricketer it’s an exciting place to be. You can go out there, enjoy yourself and know that your skills are backed by the leadership group.

“Division One will be incredibly competitive again and Kent will want to start the season well against us. We need to be aware of what the opposition are about and concentrate on what we can do to positively impact the game.”

How have Matt Renshaw and Jake Ball settled in?

“Renners has fitted in again seamlessly. We know he enjoys being around the team and he’s practiced really well this week. He’s still hungry for success and he’s on the verge of the Australian Test side. We know what a good player he’s looking forward to going out there and scoring some runs. He’s a great character, he has a high level of professionalism, and he brings a great energy.

“Jake has fitted in brilliantly as well. He’s got to know the group over the winter. He’s shown that he’s a quality performer and he’s excited to go out there and show what he can do. If you’re a young player now, every experience tends to be a new one. Players like Jake have been through all of that, and they’re in a position to share that knowledge, which is great to see. The cohesiveness within the group is as strong as I’ve ever seen. In that sense we’re in a great place. What we need to do now is go out there and deliver.”

What were Jason’s thoughts after the three-day match against University of Exeter earlier this week?

“The weather has been awful, so the ground staff deserve a huge amount of credit for ensuring that we had as much cricket as we did. It was testament to the amount of hard work that they’ve put in. I certainly feel that we got everything that we could out of it. We had time in the middle from a batting point of view, and similarly we had time on feet in the field and with the ball. I feel like we’re in a good place and are as ready as we can be ahead of Friday.

“The point of pre-season is that we’re always building. In Abu Dhabi we had competitive cricket against First Class sides which sharpened the skills. We then played a good University of Exeter side who challenged us with the ball in the conditions. As pre-seasons go, I think we’ve had a really good one.”

With just a matter of hours to go until the opening fixture against Kent, how important is it to get points on the board early in the season?

“There’s no doubt about the fact that we want to start the season well. We haven’t done that in the last couple of years. Preparation has been different this year and there’s a good feeling around the group, so I’m expecting us to start well. Having said that, it’s a long season and you therefore have the chance to bounce back from disappointments and build momentum.

“Our intention will be to win every game we play, regardless of the format. That’s not necessarily realistic, but that has to be the intention.”