Young guns keep Kirby firing
Steve Kirby admits to being inspired by the young talent coming through at Somerset.
At 35, Kirby is now in the autumn of a fine career that has yielded in excess of 500 first-class wickets, yet his enthusiasm and desire remains undimmed.
He attributes this to the competition for places at Taunton, provided by a host of fresh faces who impressed in 2012.
As Somerset battled numerous injuries to senior players last term, the likes of Craig Meschede, Lewis Gregory and Overton twins Craig and Jamie took their chance to impress.
“If you look at the way the youngsters have come into the side, none of them have let themselves down or us,” Kirby told ecb.co.uk.
“There are other young lads at Somerset coming through and it's really exciting to see the culture we've got.
“It really inspires me, to try and help them obviously, but also to try and compete with them as the old dog I am.”
The 18-year-old Overton brothers, seam-bowling all-rounders already capped by England at Under-19 level, appear set for particularly bright futures.
Craig was recently promoted to the England Lions squad for their tour of Australia, while Jamie has also impressed in his short career to date.
“I expect some fantastic things from the young Overton twins this year,” Kirby stated.
“They are always known as a pair, but they are individuals in their own right and they both offer great strengths individually.
“Jamie in particular has got some real gas on him. Craig is maybe not quite as quick, but certainly gets a lot of bounce and is a really exceptional batter and brilliant fielder.
“They really have got an unbelievable attitude - the way they go about their business. They are older than their years and have an ability to keep things clear and simple under pressure.
“It's no surprise to me that the England side and performance squads have highlighted them so early. I don't want to speak too highly of them now because you know what cricket is like - it can be difficult for young players coming in - but I can guarantee they've got a big future.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on them, but I would tell everyone to have a good look out for them because they are exceptionally talented.”
Although Somerset’s youngsters are attracting rave reviews, it was another seasoned campaigner, 31-year-old all-rounder Peter Trego, who led the bowling unit with distinction in the midst of their injury nightmare.
“Peter Trego is such an unsung hero. He basically was the mainstay of our attack,” added Kirby.
“He took 50-odd wickets and he was inspirational, he really was. Now it's about the rest of the bowling unit standing up and I've got a real warm feeling about this season. I think we're going to do something quite special.”