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Taking a lead role

Posted in Domestic Cricket

I've played under some brilliant captains at Somerset - Ricky Ponting, Graeme Smith, Justin Langer, Jamie Cox and Marcus Trescothick. I'd like to add my name to that list and lead the county one day.

On Monday and Tuesday, I went to Loughborough for an Emerging Leaders course. It was a really worthwhile two days, learning about the different aspects of being a captain.

I got the opportunity to captain England Lions last winter. That was a huge thrill and made me want to do it more.

I was put forward to go on the course by Somerset. I'd like to think that shows they think I might be captain one day. My team-mates Nick Compton and Alex Barrow were also on the course, as were a lot of other county players I know like Stephen Moore, Will Jefferson and Joe Sayers.

A lot of the course was spent in the classroom on subjects like team-talks, behaviour and which words to use when speaking to players. There was also a Q&A session with Glen Chapple and Chris Adams - two successful captains in recent years. That was a good opportunity to pick their brains.

At the end of the course, we all had to deliver our own team-talk.

I found the whole thing really useful. I want to keep learning about captaincy so I need to absorb as much information as possible. I'm lucky to have Tres as my captain. He is a great leader and I am learning from him all the time.

All of the Somerset captains I mentioned earlier in my blog were so comfortable in the role. They are all genuine leaders. They were all so passionate about their ambitions for Somerset that I believed in them.

The one moment that really stands out was Graeme Smith's team-talk before our Twenty20 final against Lancashire in 2005.


Graeme Smith was an inspirational leader while he as Somerset captain, the highlight of his tenure was winning the Twenty20 Cup

Everyone was nervous and buzzing. Lancashire were massive favourites. They had a superstar side with the likes of Andrew Flintoff, Stuart Law, Andrew Symonds, Dominic Cork and James Anderson.

Graeme settled us down and made us more relaxed. He spoke to the whole team but in such a way you thought he was talking to you individually.

He told us we had got this far because we are a close-knit team. He said we should stick together, relax, play the way we have all tournament and prove these boys can be beaten.

That team-talk went a huge way towards us winning that day.

He was a brilliant captain for Somerset. He struck a perfect balance between being captain and being one of the boys - he was only 24 when he came to Somerset. Physically he is such a big man and that demands respect immediately. He also has one of those voices that you listen to.

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