Somerset’s young left-arm spinner Jack Leach has been packing his bags in preparation for his flight to Australia this week, where he is spending six months playing grade cricket in Brisbane.
Leach enjoyed a good season in 2012, starting with Cardiff MCCU before making his Somerset debut against South Africa and taking his championship bow for the Cidermen against Lancashire at Liverpool, at the end of which he ended ninth in the national First Class averages with 12 wickets at 18.83 runs apiece.
“I’m definitely excited about going out to Australia and really looking forward to playing more cricket through the coming winter. I want to get some more overs under my belt and the experience of playing cricket in different conditions.”
The 21-year-old, who was born and grew up in Taunton before graduating through the Somerset Academy, will be playing grade cricket for Valley CC in Brisbane where he will link up with his Taunton Deane team-mate Phil Saxby.
“I will be working in a cricket specialist shop where Phil works for two days a week, to earn some money, as well as playing cricket at the weekends and training and keeping fit.
“It’s really exciting for me to be making my debut for Valley CC this weekend because Usman Khwaja, who has played for Australia and plays for Derbyshire, is also playing for them this winter.
“I’m [going to] get there on Friday morning with a view to playing for them on Saturday so it’s going to be a busy time for me one way and another.”
Reflecting on the season just gone Leach said: “I have had a fantastic season and never dreamt that things would work out the way that they have. Everything has been a bonus for me this year, because when it came to halfway through the season it’s always difficult to force your way in.
“However, with certain players being away, and also injuries, there was an opportunity for me which I was delighted to take and I haven’t let myself down when I have played for Somerset and have been pleased with how I have done.
“I didn’t play that much but I did all right. I got Hashim Amla out, in fact he was my first wicket for Somerset, and he has proved to be difficult to remove this season – that’s the highlight of my summer. I knew it was a big deal at the time but when he went on and scored 300 not out and he got runs all summer and others struggled to get him out it felt even more and more special.
“The crowds have been great in supporting me so I’m very happy with the way that my first season at Somerset has gone.”
Looking ahead Leach said: “Now it’s all about going away to Australia and trying to develop my cricket further to make sure that I hit the ground running at the start of next season to force my way into the side on merit. I’m going to be away for six months so I will be having Christmas on the beach, which can’t be bad!”