England talk isn’t my focus, I want to win the Blast, says Somerset’s Gregory

By Jeremy Blackmore

SOMERSET T20 skipper Lewis Gregory insists he is concentrating on captaining Somerset to victory on Finals Day despite media speculation about an England call-up.

Gregory, 26, came close to selection when called into the England squad for an ODI in Dublin in 2015, but his captaincy and all-round form for Somerset this year has impressed many.

He averages 53.50 at a remarkable strike rate of 216.89 in the Blast, by far the highest in this year’s tournament, as well as 17 wickets at an economy rate of 9.72. Three successive half-centuries in the Championship and 30 wickets have also underlined his red-ball credentials.

Talking about captaincy, Gregory told The Cricket Paper: “It’s been tough at times but really enjoyable. We’ve got a great bunch of guys; some really experienced members who have helped out a lot when it’s been needed.

“It’s been really great to lead the guys and see them express themselves and develop.

“Hopefully, we can go two more games and come back with the trophy.

“I got close to wearing an England shirt quite a few years ago now, but I’ve not been thinking about that at all. I’ve just been trying to get fit, which has obviously played a massive part.

“It’s exciting when guys are talking about you for stuff like that but my job is to put in performances for Somerset and whatever happens outside of playing cricket for Somerset will happen.

“My head’s on Finals Day and the last three County Championship games and then see what happens.”

Having scored his maiden first-class century at Lord’s last summer and put in some telling performances with the bat this year, has he developed into a true all-rounder?

“I think my batting is probably more suited to white-ball cricket than it is red-ball,” he said.

“There are a few things that I need to work on and develop in red-ball cricket to become a genuine all-rounder in that format. But in white-ball cricket, I’ve shown this year and parts of other years that I’m capable of being that genuine all-rounder and it’s been really nice to contribute with bat and ball.

“Hopefully that will continue for a few more games.”

Having not been to Finals Day in six years, what has made the difference for Somerset this year?

“We knew that we were going to play a lot of games at home on a flat wicket, so we tried to set the team up, knowing that if we lose early wickets we’ve still got a lot of firepower and depth in our batting to post big scores which you need to do here.

“The guys have got a lot of confidence and played some really good cricket. And obviously you can get on a roll in this competition (Somerset won seven games in a row), so it’s been thoroughly enjoyable.

“There’s been a lot of guys that have put their hand up when we’ve needed performances and that’s been the exciting thing for me. It’s not just been one or two players that have won games of cricket, different guys keep putting their hand up when required.”

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