Head coach Matt Maynard previews the 2021 domestic season ahead of our opening match against Yorkshire tomorrow:
The boys have worked really hard this winter under strange circumstances and heading into that first match against Yorkshire we feel like we are going to be very competitive.
One of our main focuses during pre-season was the lack of first innings runs last year and putting it right. That was the major difference from 2019 where we played some good, winning cricket. If we’re successful in that, we should get in good positions to either capitalise or play for strong draws.
To help with that we’ve moved David Lloyd to the top of the order. The difference between playing well and badly is often whether you have solid opening partnerships. At my time at the club we’re still trying to find that. We’ve given a few guys a try there in recent seasons, but he’s been the real standout for me in training. He played well in our intra-squad game and he’s quickly switched on to it.
I spoke to Steve James about Lloydy opening and he said he would love to have a chat with him. They’ve had a few conversations about the mentality needed to open the batting and the intent you need to show there, so hopefully Lloydy will get off to a good start, get that confidence up and flourish.
As far as our overseas slots, Balbo made a very good impression during his time with us last year and when we realised Marnus wouldn’t be here at the start of the season then he was a natural replacement. Obviously Neser, when he comes in and the kind of areas he bowls it means he will likely be a big success in our conditions. He’s a fine cricketer so we’re very much looking forward to working with him when he arrives.
There’s no doubt we’re in a very tough group for the County Championship but we’re in a position now that we haven’t been for some time. We’re in a position where we can win the County Championship or the Bob Willis Trophy, and it’s great to have a shot at some first-class silverware. Saying that, although we need to back ourselves, we also realise the enormity of the task ahead of us. We need to play at our very best in all departments if we’re going to get close to teams like Yorkshire and Lancashire.
We’re all very aware heading into the season how fortunate we’ve been as a playing and coaching group. Working in elite sport has meant we’ve been able to crack on with our jobs. It’s not something we’ve taken lightly and we will all be waiting for the day when we can have our loyal members and supporters back in the ground, cheering us on.
When those first spectators come back it will feel like a full house, even if there’s just 500 people in here. Hopefully it won’t be too long until we can play in front of you all again, but until then we hope we can make you proud and you will continue to support us from your living room on our live stream.