Ahead of the 2018 season, Phil Mustard – the 2017 captain – gave his thoughts on last season and the adjustments Gloucestershire have to implement to make 2018 a successful campaign.
On a personal level 2017 was an up and down season as I was often trying to adapt to the situation of the game rather than just playing positively. I didn’t get past the point of getting a start as often as I would have liked, and I didn’t convert those 30’s and 40’s into hundreds that help give the bowlers a total to go at.
Liam Norwell was obviously our main wicket taker but in my opinion you need two bowlers taking 50 wickets if you are going to challenge for promotion and that’s something we need to look at.
We lose Jack Taylor as a spin option this year but I’m sure he will approach his situation in the right way and start thinking as a batsman rather than an all-rounder. At number seven he gave the side balance and scored some crucial runs, and the question of whether he can – or will – bat higher is one we don’t yet know the answer to.
Ultimately it’s about finding his most effective position and in George Drissell we have a young off spinner who may get more of a chance on the more receptive pitches to show his potential.
The one common thread across all the formats – and it’s something I experienced in my early days at Durham- was that we had a habit of losing wickets in clumps. The sooner we stop that, the more progress we’ll make.
In a first class game, you don’t want to be losing top order wickets in the first session and a score of 120-3 is a rebuild for the team.
In our white ball cricket, none of us really hit our straps either and there always seemed to be a wicket around the corner. Having the Royal London One-Day Cup and T20 competition in two blocks made for a hectic schedule and it didn’t allow you much time to practice in between matches.
There were some mistakes in the 50 over competition which cost us, and in both tournaments we need to come up with a formula that can adapt to different situations.
In the Championship the top five in the batting order is the key to success and it was interesting to experiment a bit towards the end of last summer.
James Bracey came in and did amazingly well and having Benny Howell as an opener was a big switch in the direction of the batting.
We found a way of getting runs with people in different positions and that could be an eye opener in terms of what we could achieve going forward.
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