Have you Wintered Well? Part 5: Gloucestershire

Have you Wintered Well? Part 5: Gloucestershire

At a time when we are all missing the cricket season, our writers endeavour to keep you happy with some county-by-county information on Winter activity. Oli Lathrope updates us from Gloucestershire. Please note that all information given is correct at time of publication.

Somerset Cricket
James Bracey. Picture courtesy of the ECB on Youtube, with thanks.

Gloucestershire were due to begin their first season in Division One since 2005 with a trip to Headingley last Sunday.

There was a huge amount of excitement among supporters, keen to see their beloved Shire battling it out in the top tier of the County Championship in 2020.

They may yet have to wait another year.

Uncertainty surrounds the current cricketing calendar because of the coronavirus pandemic, and it is becoming ever more likely this summer will be limited to T20 cricket, if there is any cricket at all.

If the Blast can go ahead – Richard Dawson’s side will at least be confident of challenging for a place at Finals Day.

They have reached the quarter-finals in three of the last four seasons but fallen short of making it to Edgbaston.

Their campaign in 2019 was ended by Derbyshire in Michael Klinger’s final match after seven years in the West Country. His presence will certainly be missed.

The Australian made a huge impact during his time at the club, on and off the pitch.

Will Tavare and Chris Liddle have also retired but, crucially, the majority of the promotion winning squad remain at the Bristol County Ground. 

Josh Shaw has finally joined the club permanently after a few spells on loan from Yorkshire dating back to 2016 and George Scott arrives from Middlesex.

The promising all-rounder will be hoping he can be just as successful for the club as another former Middlesex player, Ryan Higgins.

Cheteshwar Pujara, India’s Test number three, was due to play in the opening seven rounds of the County Championship season. 

Like many overseas players, unfortunately, he did not make the trip after his contract was cancelled.

The status of Qais Ahmad, the 19-year-old Afghanistan spinner, who signed for the Blast and the second half of the Championship campaign, remains unclear.

One slightly controversial acquisition was that of Jerome Taylor on a three-year Kolpak deal.

Taylor has played T20 cricket for Somerset in the last couple of summers and produced mixed results.

His performances in Bristol will certainly come under scrutiny when he eventually makes his debut for the club.

Chris Dent has signed a new contract and will likely take the captaincy reigns from the now departed Klinger, if T20 cricket can take place later in the summer.

The Championship and One-Day Cup skipper has not featured much in the Blast in recent seasons but could be the man expected to bat through the innings, allowing the more aggressive players to play their shots. 

The bowling attack will be as strong as ever. 

Benny Howell and David Payne are two of the best T20’s bowlers on the circuit and, if Ahmad is able to join the club for the tournament, then it could prove difficult for opposition batsmen to score quickly. 

That is, of course, if we see any cricket at all, but there was at least some good news on that front for Gloucestershire supporters last week.

A statement published on the official website allayed any immediate financial concerns surrounding the club.

It confirmed that even in a worst-case scenario of no cricket at all this summer, the club was on course to break even this year.

That luxury surely may not extend to all counties and is a sign the stringent spending measures undertaken in recent years have all been worth it.

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