Somerset 2023 Preview
Whilst the English weather continues to beggar belief, preparations for the 2023 season are in full swing with cricket fans around the globe waiting for that first ball on April 6th. Somerset supporters came out in force and won a vote on Twitter, thereby ensuring that theirs was the first County ‘Pre-Season Pack’ to be published. Please note the values of the players mentioned will be added after March 16th, once they’ve been revealed.
Last season was a stark awakening for Somerset as they flirted with the prospect of relegation throughout the season. With a run of five draws (the last of which came against Warwickshire), and a win over Northamptonshire, Somerset seemed to have avoided the drop going into the final round of the season, but an innings defeat to Kent almost left them consigned to spending 2023 in Division Two. Fortunately for them, Yorkshire lost their game to Gloucestershire, meaning Somerset finished 7th in Division 1, 11 points from the drop zone, saving them from a relegation that would have been heart-wrenching for supporters of the side.
Somerset’s Squad Performance 2022
Ins and Outs over the Winter
The Cooper Associates County Ground has welcomed many new faces over the winter months, with the arrivals (announced before the close of the 2022 season) of Sean Dickson and Tom Kohler-Cadmore from Durham and Yorkshire respectively, as well as Shoaib Bashir from Berkshire. They’ve also done excellent business guaranteeing the services of some of the more familiar names.
Opener Sean Dickson — one of those aforementioned new arrivals — is set to play an important role in Somerset’s season. He was straight out of the blocks for Durham last year, notching four centuries by early May, three of which came in successive innings. Performances like that are exceptional compared to general trends for openers in county cricket over the past few years, but were perhaps helped by the generally kinder batting conditions that prevailed around the country last summer. Things may well be different come April 6th this year though, but Dickson could still be hard to ignore for Cricket Draft DOCs given how attractively he’s been priced.
Australian Peter Siddle is returning for another stint with the Wyverns this year, and is set to stay with the club until the end of July.
New Zealand bowler Matt Henry — previously at Kent — will be joining up with the club from May 11th until the end of July. Henry has a Test bowling average that leaves everyone slightly baffled, as it doesn’t seem to represent his true ability. He certainly showed how extraordinarily good he can be during his two game spell with Kent last season though, bagging 12 wickets at 18.83 each, which saw him pick up 536 points in a very short space of time. While it’s best to hold fire on adding him to your squads until he arrives on these shores, you can guarantee wickets will be in his luggage when he gets here.
A few players have gone through the door the other way though, with Marchant de Lange departing to Gloucestershire, and Ollie Sale moving north to Northamptonshire.
There have also been new contracts signed by current Somerset players Sonny Baker, Ben Green, Tom Lammonby and Craig Overton.
Early Season Fixtures
After barely avoiding relegation last year, Somerset will be looking to kick on and consolidate their position in Division 1 with some early wins this season, starting their campaign with two games at home against Warwickshire and Lancashire, and a match away at Nottinghamshire.
GW 1 Somerset v Warwickshire (H)
GW 2 Nottinghamshire v Somerset (A)
GW 3 Somerset v Lancashire (H)
Player Picks: A Young Gun, The Must Have, & A Budget Enabler
Young Gun: Sonny Baker
Several of the new additions catch the eye in this Somerset squad but one particular player, Sonny Baker, could well explode onto the scene in 2023. He is yet to make his first class debut, but he has played a couple of games for the second XI after an injury plagued 2022.
Many will have already seen a clip of him bowling at batters with extraordinary amounts of swing and pace for the Somerset Academy, bolstering his growing reputation as one of the county’s brightest young prospects. If you haven’t seen the clip, check it out below:
Although he hasn’t made his first class debut yet, he has certainly proven he can perform at List A level, having taken 19 wickets @ 25.42 during the One-Day Cup, including 6/46 v Durham.
Must Have Player: Craig Overton
When you look at this current crop of Somerset players, one player stands out head and shoulders above the rest (sometimes literally!). Last summer, Craig Overton took 36 wickets at a cost of 17.97 apiece, with his combined record for both 2021 and 2022 even more impressive (78 wickets at 16.63). The right arm seamer picked up 1614 fantasy points in 2022, and with him set at a very competitive price in 2023, he is looking like an exceptionally enticing option for any Cricket Draft DOC.
The Budget Enabler: James Rew
Wicketkeeper-batter James Rew broke into the Somerset first team during the 2022 season, and ended up finishing 2022 with 337 runs at an average of 37.44, with a high score of 101*. The left hander has spent the winter in Australia honing his game, and whilst he has the big boots of Steve Davies to fill behind the stumps and with the bat, at such a low price for 2023 (but perhaps not in coming years!), he could be the perfect foil to allow big money to be spent elsewhere whilst still picking up serious points.
- Sean Dickson
- Tom Lammonby
- Tom Abell ©
- Tom Kohler-Cadmore
- George Bartlett
- James Rew (wk)
- Lewis Gregory
- Craig Overton
- Peter Siddle
- Josh Davey
- Jack Leach
Taunton was one of the hardest places to bat in 2022. Out of every county’s main home ground, Taunton ranked as third lowest for average runs per wicket (29.10) and balls per dismissal (60.42).
England will be keeping a keen eye on Overton, but Leach is currently the only player expected to be away on England duty throughout the summer. Captain Abell may find himself in some white ball squads after injury denied him the chance of a debut over the winter in Bangladesh.
Good luck to Somerset in 2023!
More to come…..
We’ll keep you updated with our Pre-Season Picks the whole way. Keep track & get ready to build your squad at The Cricket Draft
In partnership with The Cricketer
Article by Harrison Burridge & The Cricket Draft
Thank you Thomas Laver for your contributions