Ready to go ... and it's only January

Posted in Domestic Cricket

I don't normally make new year's resolutions but I have one for 2012 - to get 1,500 runs in the championship.

It seems mad to be talking about the cricket season but it will soon be upon us and I can't wait to get started. I feel fresh after a good break and am ready to go.

At Somerset we had a month off after we came back from the Champions League in October. I spent most of that time watching TV, playing on my Playstation, going on the odd walk and meeting friends for a coffee, like Blacky (Ian Blackwell), Ben Phillips and Steffan Jones. I needed that break after almost a year of playing continuous cricket.

I managed to get away on holiday too. My wife Aimee and I went to Cyprus for Mark 'Tina' Turner's wedding which was brilliant. Mark used to play at Somerset before moving to Derbyshire. The week we had there was the perfect way to unwind.

Despite needing to rest both my body and mind, it didn't take long until I wanted to get back in the gym. At times it felt strange not having anything to do.

All the Somerset players were given individual programmes to work on from early November. We all started by doing some light work before pushing up the intensity before Christmas.

We were then given two weeks off over the Christmas period which was long enough to refresh the batteries again. We were told not to go too mad and undo all the hard work we'd put in at the gym.

We spent Christmas in Reading with my brother Peter and his fiance's family. My mum, dad and sister Rebecca were there too so that was nice.

James Hildreth

I am excited about playing cricket again for Somerset even though the new domestic season is still three almost months away

New year's eve was pretty chilled out. Aimee and I plus three other couples hired a cottage in Cornwall for a few days which was lovely. 'Tina' and his wife were there too.

We resumed pre-season training last week and that meant we have started to take a serious look ahead to the new season. I have finally taken my cricket bat out of my bag, which is the longest I have left it before getting back in the nets. I just wanted to be completely fresh before I worked on my batting again.

Aside from the cricket sessions, we have done some work with a sports psychologist to see if there is a reason behind us losing all those finals in the last few years. Is there a reason for it? Are we coping with the pressure? It's been interesting listening to someone else's perspective.

We have our overseas players signed up for the new season. We have Vernon Philander for the first half of the season providing he doesn't get an IPL contract. He's bowling pretty well for South Africa and would be excellent for us on those early season wickets.

When he joins up with South Africa for their tour of England then Roelof van der Merwe will replace him for the rest of the season. Kieron Pollard is back for the Friends Life t20 and we all know what he is capable of.

Other than those three I haven't heard of us signing anyone else. We've lost Charl Willoughby so some of the younger guys are going to have to step up and make up for the 60 wickets he normally gets.

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