Glamorgan will be looking to improve on what was a largely frustrating campaign in 2014. A combination of injuries and poor performances meant that they couldn’t get anything going in the longer four day format of the game while they failed to build on a trip to Lords in 2013 by missing out on the quarter finals of the Royal London One Day Cup by the narrowest margin. In the Natwest T20 Blast they qualified for the last eight when rain did them no favours to sum up what was ultimately a disappointing campaign.
In a bid to make more of a success of 2015 South African import Jacques Rudolph has been made a captain of all formats. He has seen Jim Allenby leave for Somerset which is a big blow as the all-rounder has been one of Glamorgan’s most important players for the last couple of seasons. Craig Maschede has come the other way but he has a job on to replace Allenby’s runs and wickets. Colin Ingram has joined as a Kolpak signing and the Welsh side will need every run he has in him especially after the retirement of Murray Goodwin in the close season.
Division Two of the County Championship looks a really tough division this season so Glamorgan are going to need everything to go their way if they are to have a successful season. It may just be that 2015 is a year for taking stock of where they are, accepting they are a side in a transition period under a new captain and try to improve bit by bit ready to launch from a much stronger platform in 2016 with maybe a run in a one-day competition to boost confidence as the season progresses.
Ins: James Kettleborough (Northamptonshire), Craig Meschede (Somerset, loan), Colin Ingram (South Africa, Kolpak)
Outs: John Glover, Murray Goodwin, Gareth Rees (all retired), Mike Reed, Stewart Walters, Tom Lancefield (all released), Jim Allenby (Somerset)
Michael Hogan has been a leading player for Glamorgan ever since he joined them and even though he could miss the start of the season through injury when he is up and running he is likely to be key to their chances once again. He is one of the best new ball bowlers in the country and in the limited overs he can get through overs in the powerplay without going around the park but more importantly he takes wickets which can give his captain room for movement later in the innings which is vital in this current day and age.
Hogan took 63 wickets at less than 20 in the County Championship last season as well as 14 in the One Day Cup and another 21 in the T20 Blast so he is absolutely vital. As a senior player he can give advice on the field to the younger bowlers too so if he arrives in the same form he had last season the Australian is going to be a key man in any success Glamorgan have throughout the course of 2015.
Player to watch
Ruaidhri Smith made his debut for Glamorgan back in 2013 and came more to fruition in 2014 but 2015 could be the year he really breaks through on the domestic stage. With Michael Hogan likely to miss the start of the season and Graham Wagg nursing an injury as well the Dragons are going to need a young bowler to stand up and be counted and Smith could just be that man. In a short First-class career so far he has already picked up 22 wickets and with more chances and added responsibility in the side his statistics are only likely to improve as the season goes on. He isn’t just a bowler however. He already has a half-century to his name with the bat and any runs he can add down the order certainly won’t go unappreciated by anyone at the SWALEC. In what is largely an experienced Glamorgan side full of established players the Scottish born Smith could be the one to watch throughout the course of 2015.
Jacques Rudolph is the overseas player for Glamorgan this season and takes on the captaincy. Rudolph is available for the entire season which is an advantage as a settled overseas pro can be worth their weight in gold these days. He is going to need to be a big player this season at the top of the order especially with some experienced batsmen departed but perhaps his biggest task is going to be to lead an inexperienced attack at the start of the season and try to get some results. In a County Championship Division Two which is full of batting quality this season the South African certainly matches up to most of them so the Welsh crowds are going to see a barrel load of runs from the bat of the former Test star.
Hugh Morris confirmed at the Media Day that the county are hoping to sign another overseas player for the T20 Blast but as yet no signing has been finalised.
How they will fare
Unless Michael Hogan gets up to speed very quickly this is all set for another season of struggle in the County Championship for Glamorgan. The loss of Jim Allenby is hard to put into words really especially with his ability to bowl economically in the limited overs formats as well as take wickets in the longer formats of the game. Other sides look much better equipped for success in the Championship so a decent run in one of the limited overs competitions could be about as good as it gets for Glamorgan with that likely to come more in the T20 Blast given that they have a points deduction in the One Day Cup.
v Leicestershire, Sunday 12th April at Grace Road
Season odds (via SkyBet)
LV County Championship Division 2: 14/1
Royal London One-Day Cup: 33/1
Natwest Twenty20 Blast: 25/1