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  • County 2 min read

    Gloucestershire are focussed on a 'fast start' in the 2017 Specsavers County Championship

    Richard Dawson the Gloucestershire Head Coach has challenged his players to become leaders this summer.

    Richard Dawson admits that Gloucestershire must fill two massive holes in their batting line-up to challenge for promotion in the Specsavers County Championship this summer.

    The head coach has to come up with a remedy for losing Michael Klinger, who will be playing only one-day cricket for the club, and the retired Hamish Marshall, two enormously influential players in recent seasons.

    Dawson is confident the return of Western Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft will fill one of the gaps and has already challenged his players to make a sustained challenge for a top two finish.

    “One of the first things we did before starting outdoor training was sit down with the players and talk about our first four Championship matches in the opening month of the season."

    Richard Dawson

    He said: “One of the first things we did before starting outdoor training was sit down with the players and talk about our first four Championship matches in the opening month of the season.

    “We want to make a fast start. We don’t necessarily have to win every match, but at the end of those four games I would like to think we have set up a decent position in the table.

    “Losing both Michael and Hamish makes it hard to make an accurate forecast about our prospects. Both brought so much to club and the dressing room with their performances on the pitch and the way they conducted himself off it.

    “To make up for their departures other players have to step forward, not just in terms of scoring runs, but by becoming leaders.”

    Richard Dawson

    “To make up for their departures other players have to step forward, not just in terms of scoring runs, but by becoming leaders.”

    Bancroft, 24, who had a short and somewhat disappointing spell with Gloucestershire at the start of last season, has been signed for the whole of the coming Championship campaign and looks set to open the batting with Chris Dent.

    Klinger is returning for one-day cricket and Andrew Tye for the T20 competition, but the club are relying on the further progress of established players for success in the longer format.

    Dawson added: “We are pretty well where we want to be with our squad.

    “We have faith in the group of players we have developed. It’s all about trust and I think they have what it takes to improve as a group and achieve the consistency we have lacked.”

    Richard

    “We have faith in the group of players we have developed. It’s all about trust and I think they have what it takes to improve as a group and achieve the consistency we have lacked.”

    Gloucestershire have been training in nets under a large marquee at their ground since the squad got back together at the beginning of last week, several players having returned from wintering abroad.

    Gareth Roderick went back to his native South Africa, Kieran Noema-Barnett played 50-over cricket in New Zealand, while George Hankins and Ian Cockbain spent time in Australia.

    The first pre-season game is a one-day match against Oxford University at The Parks on Thursday. Next week brings a three-day and a one-day friendly against Somerset at Taunton.

    Gloucestershire then entertain Durham MCCU in a three-day match at Bristol, starting on March 28 before the opening Championship match against Kent at Canterbury, which begins on Friday April 7.

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