Somerset leg-spinner Max Waller has signed a new one-year deal with the Cidermen, meaning that all of the players currently on the staff at the County Ground are contracted for the 2013 season.
Waller, who is 24, made his debut for the county in 2009, since when he has enjoyed considerable success in one-day cricket, but has been unable to repeat this success in the longer format of the game.
This year, Waller played in seven Friends Life Twenty20 games, in which he captured seven wickets at an average of just over 21 runs each, and eight Clydesdale Bank 40 games, when he claimed four wickets at 45.
In this year’s LV= County Championship Waller played in two matches and took one wicket for 83 runs.
Waller will be flying out to Adelaide shortly to spend the winter at the Darren Lehmann Academy, where he is hoping he will be able to develop his game to enable him to nail down a place in Somerset’s Championship side next season. He will be funded at the Academy by the England and Wales Cricket Board and will be working alongside several other young English cricketers, including Sam Billings (Kent) Dan Redfern and Ross Whiteley (both Derbyshire) and Rory Burns (Surrey) and Joe Gatting (Sussex).
“You get assigned to a club when I am out there, so we play cricket at the weekends and train all of the week,” said Waller. “I know a few other leg spinners have been on it and they have told me that it was beneficial to them, so I’m really looking forward to it.
“It’s brilliant the ECB has got this faith in me to send me out to Adelaide. I have been involved with several ECB things now and it’s good to work with top coaches and be around other young players and improve my game.
“I will be working with Peter Sleep, who played in 14 Test matches for Australia. He is supposed to be the best leg-spin coach, so it will be good to have the chance to go and work with him this winter.
“My main aim out there is to improve my four-day cricket so I’m pushing for a place in the Somerset team. I am a regular in the T20 and 40-over sides, but need to try to force my way into the Championship side.
“I’m happy with the way things are going with the white ball. I just need to improve my performances with the red ball in the four-day game.
“I think I need a consistent stock ball that I can bowl. In one-day cricket I can vary it and make it difficult for a batsman to settle, but in the four-day game it’s more about control and creating pressure over a period of time. However, I only played two Championship games this season.”
Waller knows that the pressure will be on him as soon as he returns from Adelaide in March, and knows only too well what he has to do.
“George Dockrell bowled brilliantly at the start of the season and made it hard for me to get into the side, which is what I have got to do next year and that’s what I will be looking to do,” he said.
Waller feels that the appointment of a new director of cricket at Somerset will be beneficial to him. “To have a fresh face and a new pair of eyes coming into the club is exciting. I won’t feel like I have been judged on what I have done, rather on what I do.”
Regarding his new contract, Waller said: “I have signed a new one-year deal, which takes me to the end of next season when we will see where I am.”