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Leadership the key to Somerset cricket renaissance
By Drew Savage
Somerset CCC's Andy Hurry looks back on the rebuild job that paved the way for a successful 2007 county cricket season.
Over a cup of coffee in the New Pavilion, Somerset's Head Coach Andy Hurry was happy to look out at the square at Taunton's County Ground and reflect on a season which saw The Cidermen win Division Two of the County Championship and gain promotion into the upper echelons of the NatWest Pro40 competition.
But looking back a few months, it's worth remembering that one of Somerset's best seasons in recent years was preceded by one of their worst ever.
"We had some major issues to deal with - and that was the interesting thing from a coach's perspective, that we identified them and rectified them," said Hurry. "The easiest thing is to identify them and the hard thing is to rectify them."
"We sat down and reviewed the previous season. Having finished bottom of the County championship Division Two, I mean, that's the lowest of the low and we identified that we needed strong leadership. Someone who had good knowledge of the game and could lead by example - in every aspect, on the park and off that park and that's why we needed Justin Langer. So that was a key signing for us."
Somerset CCC Head Coach Andy Hurry
But the management team also decided to look outside cricket for part of the solution. A business consultancy company was brought in to give the club direction on how to develop their internal leadership structure.
"They helped us actually focus on our agreed areas," explained the Somerset coach. "Number one that we're all buying in to the leadership and to trust the leaders. And that's whether it was the management or whether it's the captain out on the park."
"We identified a first-class captain - and we got that with Justin Langer - but the important thing for me was the on-field leadership we had with Andrew Caddick as vice-captain, and Marcus Trescothick who was a valuable asset to have on the park, but also the whole team contributed within the leadership structure."
Cricketing targets were set as well - to put the side in mental control of matches, the team agreed that they needed to score a minimum of 450 runs when batting first to give the bowlers a decent target to aim at. But the management structure agreed amongst the team helped to bring these results about on the pitch.
The Championship - won thanks to strong leadership
"The young players and the less experienced players bought in to the leadership and trusted the leaders decision-making processes and whatever the decision was, everyone bought into it and we went with it and that worked really successfully," said Hurry. "The key aspect now is how we develop that and move on to win the county championship outright in our first season."
last updated: 29/10/07
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