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Somerset in pledge to keep up player chase

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: October 24, 2012

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Guy Lavender is confident Somerset's ongoing search for a director of cricket will in no way harm their ability to add quality to their playing ranks over the winter.

Somerset have been without an overall leader on the cricket side since Brian Rose stepped down last month but will shortly begin interviews for the role.

In the meantime, they are continuing to pursue a number of players they feel could improve their overall depth ahead of the 2013 campaign, including potential overseas signings.

And chief executive Lavender said: "We're well set at the moment with our cricket committee, and there's no lack of momentum in terms of player signings or our strategies for next year.

"We don't feel in a poor position – we feel in a strong position and we're on track.

"One of the things that's driving us at the minute is the availability of players. You've got four or five different options as to what you might look for, but the most important thing is can you get world-class players?

"We would expect to make an announcement about that in the next couple of weeks. We're making progress."

Coach Andy Hurry echoed the chief executive's views and said what made player recruitment difficult for Somerset was the club's high standards, both on and off the field.

"We've had a history of making sure that when we sign overseas players, we identify quality players that can enhance our group, both on and off the park," said Hurry.

"As a squad, we're enriched with some very good, talented senior players but also embedded with some very good, young potential players coming through.

"It's important we get somebody who can almost act as the glue to help keep developing those younger players, but also give the performances on the park that allow us to be very competitive.

"There's a certain calibre of player that we're always looking for and they are few and far between. It's not as easy a process as some may envisage, but it's one we're enjoying the challenge of."

Lavender moved last week to play down suggestions Justin Langer, the club's captain from 2006 to 2009, would be returning as director of cricket.

And he has now given a strong indication that the club's statement, in which it was stated "Justin has not applied for the post", was not merely a case of semantics.

"I thought that had to be addressed for two reasons: so people understand where we are in the process, and because it had also gathered momentum that we were going to make a particular decision, and that just wasn't the case," said Lavender.

"The fact of the matter is that he hasn't applied. If you draw from that, 'well, that might mean he hasn't applied yet', I think the answer is that it's highly unlikely that he will apply for the post.

"That's where we're at, and we're not trying to play games; we're trying to make sure that people understand what's going on.

"We've had some very, very good candidates, and we're going through that process now – short-listing those and getting to some interviews. It's a critical position and we've got to make sure we get the right person."

On the speculation regarding Langer, Lavender added: "It puts everyone in a difficult position, not least the people who apply.

"Part of the reason for wanting to say something was so people understood that we weren't going through a sham of a process – and we're genuinely not.

"We advertised it, we've had some covering letters and CVs back, we've short-listed it and we'll interview for it. It's all there and we just need to take our time – there's no massive rush."

Somerset batsman Alex Barrow underwent shoulder surgery yesterday and will resume training after Christmas.

England spinner Graeme Swann has been handed a benefit year by Nottinghamshire in the 2013 season.

He said: "I know that I can count on the support of my team-mates and friends in the game and my plan is to have a series of small events for cricket supporters to enjoy."

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