We really want to rekindle that 2019 form - Cooke

7 Apr 2021 | Cricket

Captain Chris Cooke reflects on pre-season preparations and looks ahead to the start of the domestic campaign starting against Yorkshire tomorrow:

It’s a real honour to captain Glamorgan again this year and with no divisions it’s exciting to start a new season with a possibility of winning the County Championship.

With everything going on around the pandemic and the health and safety protocols the club has put in place, it is safe to say it has been a slightly unusual pre-season. I’d like to thank everyone at the club for their hard work which allows the cricket department to carry on as normal as possible under the circumstances. It’s been a real team effort as a club to get us where we are now.

We have been training throughout the winter in small groups to minimise contact so until recently we haven’t been able to meet up as a larger squad and coaching staff. All this has meant that we are looking forward to the season more than ever and we are all raring to go.

In terms of what we’re looking to achieve this season, we really want to rekindle that 2019 form in the four-day game. The top order scored plenty of runs and we played some front foot, aggressive cricket. We probably weren’t quite as proactive last year so it’s something we want to put right this year and then I’m sure the performances will come. First innings runs is a must this year and it’s been the focus of our pre-season preparation.

What we did show last year in the County Championship was plenty of character when we were under the pump and that will again be needed this year when we’re up against some very strong batting line-ups and bowling attacks.

We’ve also put in a lot of hard work in over the winter and at the ground on our fielding and want to make out fielding the opposition in every game a big priority!

Despite a smaller playing squad this season the competition for places is very fierce and picking the teams for the pre-season fixtures gave us a real headache. In the end we went with the guys who put in good work in the winter and impressed in the intra-squad game and we decided to keep that squad together.

With the format of the County Championship as it is, we’ll be playing some teams for the first time in a while. Yorkshire away is a great place to start and there’s probably no greater challenge if you look back at the history of county cricket. It’ll be a big test for us and a yard stick of how far we’ve come as a team. It’s a chance for people to get in the headlines, put their name forward and show supporters what they’re about.

It will be a particularly interesting match for Billy Root when he goes up against his brother. It’s something we have talked about a bit and he can’t wait to get the opportunity to play against him. Whoever comes out on top will have the bragging rights when the family meets up again.

Obviously not having Marnus for the start will be a big miss for us but we’re delighted to bring Balbo back to the club. He did a brilliant job covering for Colin last year in the Vitality Blast and really impressed everyone at the club. Not only is he a great player but he’s fantastic to have in the dressing room and he’s a real leader with his experience.

Finally, we’re absolutely desperate to get our supporters back in the ground this season. I’m sure when the gates open the Welsh faithful will come flooding back in.

Until then it’s important we create a real buzz in the field and create that atmosphere within the team that usually our fans bring.