By Richard Latham
Craig Overton can look forward to First Division cricket in the County Championship next season when he expects to be an even better bowler as a result of his Ashes tour selection.
The 23-year-old Somerset all-rounder had double cause for celebration after the 231-run victory over Middlesex at Taunton, which completed a dramatic escape from relegation for the Cider county.
The previous day had seen Overton’s place in the England squad to visit Australia this winter announced. And, while that was not the only dramatic news for Somerset fans – the departure of director of cricket Matthew Maynard was made public on Wednesday evening – it signalled a special 48 hours for the player.
“The Ashes tour selection was a childhood dream fulfilled,” said Overton. “I said then if we could beat Middlesex and stay up it would be the perfect week. I’m not sure how many games I will get in Australia, but just being part of a squad including Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad should be fantastic for me.
“They are two of the greatest England bowlers so I will be asking them as many questions as possible to maximise the experience. Hopefully, I can then bring what I have learned back to Somerset.
“Andrew Flintoff was my boyhood hero. I have always had the ability to bowl quickly, but when I tried to go up a gear I was less consistent. That is one of the things I have worked on.
“I also spoke with our batting coach Chris Rogers last winter about the advantage of bowling a bit fuller. Batsmen don’t like playing forward to a seam bowler of my height.”
Victory over Middlesex completed a dramatic climb out of trouble for Somerset, who won three of their last four games.
It was a satisfying end to the tenure of Maynard, whose departure from Somerset was said to be amicable. The club expect to announce a new director of cricket and head coach shortly, with former first-team coach Andy Hurry and Jason Kerr favourites for the roles.
Result: Somerset 236 & 250-9d beat Middlesex 141 & 113 by 231 runs. Middlesex are relegated.