Glamorgan preview 2023
Glamorgan’s 2022 season was a series of what could have beens. The biggest disappointment was missing out on promotion in the County Championship by nine points, having enjoyed a win and a draw against the eventual Division Two winners, Nottinghamshire. However, Middlesex deserved their second place, having delivered two heavy defeats to the Welsh county. A late burst in the One-Day cup saw them narowly miss out on a quarter-final spot, while they had another disappointing Blast campaign.
There has been a change at the top, with Matthew Maynard now only having coaching responsibility for the red ball side, following Glamorgan’s poor performances in the Blast over recent years. Assistant coach, David Harrison has been responsible for the 50-over side, with Maynard involved with the Welsh Fire, but now Mark Alleyne has been appointed as a specialist white ball coach. The former England and Gloucestershire all-rounder is well qualified for the post having captained Gloucestershire between 1997 and 2004, winning nine trophies, before taking over as coach until 2007. Since then he has had roles with England Under-15s, the MCC academy, the Welsh Fire and most recently, the England T20 side in the West Indies. He has been with the squad during their preseason tour to Zimbabwe and will be in charge for the first T20 game on 26 May, coincidently against Gloucestershire.
The end of the season was marked by the departure of veteran Australian seamer, Michael Hogan, who had become a fan favourite at Sophia Gardens since his debut back in 2013. The expectation was that he was retiring and would be returning to Australia with his young family, so it was a shock to see that he then signed for Kent, where he will also have a coaching role. Making the move in the opposite direction is Harry Podmore, who has previously had two loan periods with Glamorgan, back in 2016 and 2017 when he was with Middlesex. He moved to Kent in 2018 but appearances have been limited by injury in the last two seasons. The 28-year-old will be hoping that he can stay fit and Glamorgan will need his seam bowling, having released Lukas Carey, Ruaidhri Smith, James Weighell and Joe Cooke. Hogan alongside Michael Neser were responsible for 82 of the 214 Championship wickets taken by Glamorgan bowlers in 2022 and the county will be hoping that the first choice Australian Ashes attack stays fit next summer, thereby avoiding having to call on Neser. James Harris is not the force he was when he left Glamorgan back in 2013, taking 31 wickets at 38.1 in his first full season back in Wales. Timm van der Gugten’s 2022 season was interrupted by a hamstring injury, but much will rest on him and Podmore, especially if Neser is absent. Left armer Jamie McIlroy has shown promise, but he also had an injury blighted 2022, managing only two Blast games and three One-Day matches. He has produced some excellent figures in the preseason tour to Zimbabwe and could have a significant impact. The pace bowling resources also include all-rounders Andy Gorvin and Dan Douthwaite (whose appearances were restricted to white ball formats in 2022) and new signings Zain-ul-Hassan and academy-product, Ben Morris.
Ul-Hassan is a right-arm seamer and left-handed batter who came through the Worcestershire Academy in 2019, where he made his List A debut against West Indies A. He is another success story for the South Asian Cricket Academy, impressing the Glamorgan staff with bat and ball when he trialled in the second XI at the end of last season. He amassed 638 runs at an average of 40 in the second XI Championship, including a high score of 116 against Yorkshire. He also took 37 wickets at an average of 15 with two five-wicket hauls.
Spin bowling became more of a factor in the Championship following the hot, dry spell last summer, but with half the fixtures still be playing by mid-June in 2023, spinners are likely to have a quiet time until the white ball competitions start. Glamorgan have often turned to the leg spin of Marnus Labuschagne, but off-spinner Andrew Salter played 12 Championship games in 2022, although half of those were primarily as a make-shift opening batter. He did however have his most successful season with the red ball taking 33 wickets at 32.8 and will be hoping to become a regular in the Championship side. The problems of developing spinners, particularly for the longer format, are well documented. Slow left armer Prem Sisodiya made an impact in T20 cricket when he debuted in 2019, but has not played a first class game since then, while off-spinning all-rounder Callum Taylor ‘s only first team cricket last season was in the opening three Championship games, going wicketless off 20 overs. Glamorgan have given a rookie contract to another off-spinning all-rounder, 19-year-old Ben Kellaway, who looks to be one for the future. Glamorgan have four Championship games between 25th June and 28th July before the final three matches in September and if there is a repeat of last season’s dry weather, they may be looking to bolster their spin bowling options, as they did with Ajaz Patel at the end of last summer.
New-signing, Sam Northeast was the star of the team in 2022, being the top run-scorer across all three formats. This included 1189 first-class at 59.45, including a record 410 not out. With the resigning of Colin Ingram on a new two year deal, Glamorgan have back up for Labuschagne, who is only going to be available for five of the first six Championship games. After minimal red ball cricket in recent years, Ingram immediately hit top gear, scoring 596 first-class runs in just five matches, with three centuries. He was similarly productive in the One-Day cup, with 342 runs, which included a List A career-best 155 against Kent Spitfires. Eddie Byrom did not come into the side until half way through the season following surgery, but immediately created solidity at the top of the order, while fellow opener and skipper, David Lloyd hit some form in the latter half of the season, including a triple century. Chris Cooke also had one of his best seasons in the Championship with 840 runs at 56, but struggled in white ball formats. Vice-captain, Kiran Carlson has had a number of lean years and his place will be under threat from last year’s breakthrough player Tom Bevan, who scored a century in his third list-A game and 48 in his single first-class innings.
Cooke remains the first choice wicket-keeper and with the release of Tom Cullen, it falls to 19-year-old Alex Horton to act as his back-up. He has been making a name for himself with the England under -19 side and was part of the Young Lions training camp this winter. Glamorgan are expecting big things from the teenager and it would not be a surprise to see him with the gloves on more occasions this summer.
With regard to what 2023 might offer, Glamorgan may have missed out on their best opportunity of promotion in the County Championship last season. They should not have any problems scoring enough runs, but may struggle to regularly take the 20 wickets needed for a win. To mount a challenge in 2023 they need to find a replacement for Hogan’s 45 wickets in 2022 and pray that Neser does not get injured or called up to the Ashes. Much will rest on Podmore and van der Gugten and all these bowlers staying fit.
Despite winning the One-Day cup in 2021 it has been a lean time for Glamorgan in white ball cricket and given the absence of significant changes to the squad, they will find it difficult to get out of the group stages of either competition once again. Alleyne will be hoping that the red ball form of a number of the batters in 2022 can be transferred to white ball cricket in 2023.
Glamorgan travelled to Zimbabwe for preseason preparation, their first trip away since 2020. They played five matches against first class opposition, including a three day game, coming out victorious in each. Most of the batters spent time in the middle and the highlight was Douthwaite’s 70 from 39 balls in the final 50-over game as Glamorgan posted 321. Douthwaite’s potential has been rewarded with a call up to the Welsh Fire, the only Glamorgan player currently scheduled to be involved in The Hundred. They also played a friendly against Somerset in Taunton where Byrom, Billy Root and Cooke all made half centuries. Glamorgan will play a further friendly against Cardiff UCCE before opening their Championship campaign with a home fixture against one of last year’s relegated teams, Gloucestershire. They will be without Labuschagne and Neser, with Ingram stepping in. The two Australians should be available for the second fixture at home to Durham, with Neser hopefully recovered from an ankle injury suffered during the warm-up for Queensland’s game against Tasmania on 14 March.
Sam Northeast proved to be an inspirational signing last season, after some lean years since leaving Kent. As well as his first class runs, he scored 291 runs in the One-Day cup at 48.50, including 177 not out off 148 balls against Worcestershire and 510 runs in the Blast. While his England aspirations may seem over, given the current strength of their middle order, the 33-year-old will be keen to continue piling on the runs and pushing his name forward.
One to watch.
Jamie McIlroy has shown plenty of promise when he has been fit and his left arm seam is bowled at a good pace. Up until now his first team appearances have been infrequent, but he and Glamorgan will be hoping that he can put a run of games together and bolster a pace attack that, at the moment, looks to be heavily reliant on Neser. He was in good rhythm during the preseason tour and is able to bowl economical spells.
Overseas signings: Marnus Labuschagne (Australia), Colin Ingram (South Africa), Michael Neser (Australia)
Ins: Harry Podmore (Kent), Ben Kellaway (Academy), Ben Morris (Academy)
Outs: Michael Hogan (Kent), Lukas Carey (Released), Ruaidhri Smith (Released), Joe Cooke (Released), James Weighell (Released), Tom Cullen (Released), Tegid Phillips (Released)
Possible Glamorgan Championship side
- D Lloyd (c)
- E Byrom
- M Labuschagne
- S Northeast
- K Carlson
- C Cooke (wk)
- M Neser
- A Salter
- T van der Gugten
- H Podmore
- J McIlroy
How will they fare: The batting looks strong in red ball cricket, although they have not been able to regularly post match-winning scores in the white ball formats, particularly T20. The departure of Hogan has left a big hole and the bowling looks the weaker part of the squad. There is a good mixture of experience and youth in the group, but it may take a season or two for this to become a successful product. If the frontline seamers stay fit they can put up a challenge for promotion in the Championship, but this may be a time of rebuilding.
Opening fixture: CC vs Gloucestershire on April 6 at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
Season Odds (SkyBet):
County Championship – 6/1
T20 Blast – 33/1
One-Day Cup – N/A