Yesterday we brought you the first of three interviews with Somerset cricketers looking ahead to the 2021 season - club captain Tom Abell - and up next it's T20 skipper Lewis Gregory.

LIKE his club captain Tom Abell, Lewis Gregory has had a busy winter of playing cricket overseas - and he knows that he is fortunate to have had those opportunities in these strange times.

Gregory helped Brisbane Heat get to within one win of the Big Bash League final, before joining Abell and Tom Banton in heading off to the Pakistan Super League.

The latter competition was suspended due to a spate of positive Covid-19 tests among players and staff (Banton and Gregory among them), but not before Gregory had inspired Islamabad United to a three-wicket victory against Multan Sultans, scoring 49* off 31 balls.

"It was nice to go away and be able to play cricket," Gregory told the County Gazette.

"I was very lucky to be able to do that."

The 28-year-old all-rounder added: “Where I’m trying to get to in T20 cricket is to be the guy who finishes off games, and I had the chance to do that in the Big Bash League and in my first Pakistan Super League game.

“I don’t feel like I set the world alight, but I was able to affect games, and I feel a better cricketer for those experiences.”

Gregory joined Somerset’s pre-season campaign late, due to his post-Pakistan self-isolation period, but describes the mood around the club as being very positive ahead of the 2021 season.

"I only got out of isolation on [Friday, March 26], but it's great to be around everyone again," he said.

"To see the youngsters perform as they have [in pre-season] has been brilliant.

"The mood is very good, the guys are in a great place, and I'm excited to get cracking."

Going into tomorrow's County Championship opener away to Middlesex, there is real competition for places in the Somerset side, and nowhere is that competition fiercer than in the seam bowling attack, despite the loss of Jamie Overton to Surrey.

Gregory will do battle with Jack Brooks, Josh Davey, Craig Overton and new signing Marchant de Lange - as well as up-and-coming Academy talents like Kasey Aldridge, Sonny Baker and Ned Leonard - for his spot in the team.

“We keep producing young, fast bowlers,” Gregory said.

“It’s difficult to sign players so we need to keep producing them and giving them opportunities.

“[De Lange] offers so much pace, and then you have Kasey [Aldridge] who’s as fast as anyone!

“I think we have all bases covered, we just need to keep everyone fit.

“We’ve shown in the last two to three years, that what we do in red-ball cricket is among the best in the country, and I think we can continue that this year.”

Should Somerset win some silverware this season, the players will hope to be able to celebrate it with their supporters in Taunton - because they've been missed.

"It's just not the same without them," Gregory said.

"You play sport because you love it, but the guys do notice a huge difference without crowds.

"We can provide them [fans] with entertainment, and what they provide for us is massive - it's fantastic when you have that buzz around the place."

He added: “It’s been such a tough year for everyone - players, staff, everyone around the club and our supporters, too.

“Any trophy would be unbelievable and, after the last 12 months, being able to parade it round the ground would be absolutely fantastic, and incredibly fitting for our dedicated supporters.

“A lot of hard work will go in to achieving that.”


SOMERSET have named a 13-strong squad for tomorrow's match against Middlesex at Lord's.

There's no place for seam bowler Jack Brooks, with overseas signing Marchant de Lange in contention to make his competitive debut, but wicketkeeper Steve Davies returns after missing the last couple of pre-season matches.

Somerset squad: Tom Abell (captain), George Bartlett, Tom Banton, Eddie Byrom, Josh Davey, Steve Davies, Marchant de Lange, Lewis Gregory, James Hildreth, Tom Lammonby, Jack Leach, Craig Overton and Roelof van der Merwe.