Jovial Thomas sets simple target
Somerset have a straightforward plan to ensure they claim victory at Friends Life t20 finals day.
Runners-up in the shortest form for the last three years, Marcus Trescothick’s men have also endured recent near misses in the Clydesdale Bank 40 and LV= County Championship.
Ahead of this weekend’s showpiece event in Cardiff, veteran seamer Alfonso Thomas told ecb.co.uk: “We are going to do something different this year – we are going to try and score one more run than the opposition!”
Thomas’ light-hearted comments do little to mask a steely determination to succeed at the SWALEC Stadium and bring Somerset’s losing run in finals to an end.
They take on Hampshire in the second last-four clash, with the winner taking on Yorkshire or Sussex soon after.
“I’m sure this year will be our year,” added the South African. “It would be massive for the club to win a trophy. I think our supporters really deserve one and hopefully we can put the record straight down in Cardiff.”
Wicketkeeper-batsman Craig Kieswetter believes his side must take heart from their continued success in reaching the closing stages of competitions.
“We’ve been there or thereabouts over the last couple of years and as a side it’s always disappointing when you get to the end of a season and you’re empty-handed,” he said.
“We have to look at it in a positive way; the fact that we compete in all competitions and we play the most games out of all the counties shows that we’re a really good competitive side in all formats.”
Kieswetter and Thomas will, of course, have very different roles to play tomorrow.
Many would feel the latter faces the less appealing task, in trying to limit the damage caused by ultra-aggressive batsmen, yet Thomas is looking forward to the challenge.
“You can’t be thinking about the batter,” explained the canny seamer. “You’ve just got to focus on what you want to achieve and try and take the batter out of the equation.
“As long as you’ve got a clear mind then you usually come out on top as a bowler; that is something I will try to do on finals day.”
One of the less experienced members of Somerset’s bowling unit, leg-spinner Max Waller, is also undaunted by the prospect of coming under attack.
“In Twenty20 the batsmen are obviously playing more shots, which gives you more opportunities,” he reasoned.
“They have to take risks, which plays into your hands a little bit. Obviously you have to take into account the occasion and the pressure, but I’ve played in the Champions League and I’ve played at finals day before (three years ago) so I’m fairly confident that I should be alright.”
After missing out on selection for finals day in 2010 and 2011, Waller is desperate to play a part this time around.
“It’s a bit frustrating to watch so hopefully this year I’ll get an opportunity and show what I can do,” he concluded
“It’s a great day and a great occasion, and helping us to try and win the trophy would be brilliant.”