Arul Suppiah: It's time for Somerset to win LV= County Championship
Arul Suppiah believes winning the LV= County Championship in his benefit season next year would be the kind of story that flows from a scriptwriter’s pen.
But the all-rounder has every belief that Somerset are closing in on their first ever County Championship title.
Somerset finished runners-up in the Championship last season, as they did in 2010, and Suppiah sees no reason why his dream should not become a reality next summer.
“You write those kind of scripts – and it would be brilliant if we could win any trophy, but the Championship would be the one,” said the 29-year-old.
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“Ending up second in 2012 was a great credit to the team, given all the injuries we had and the average age of our team. That was a phenomenal effort.
“The only team to beat Warwickshire was us, and the only team we lost to was Warwickshire, and we finished runners-up to them.
“That shows what the margins are like and how tough a division it is, especially as both of those games could have gone either way.
“For a good four or five years, we’ve been chipping away at it, and I think it’s time for us to bang down that door and win it. It would be ideal to do it next year – and it would be a massive help to my benefit year!”
Suppiah revealed how he was worried he was in trouble when Somerset chief executive Guy Lavender contacted him during the off-season to tell him he was being awarded a benefit year.
He said: “It’s a great honour to be awarded a benefit year – I certainly wasn’t expecting it.
“It’s quite funny how I got the news, actually. I was back home in Malaysia for a break and the chief sent me a text saying he wanted to Skype with me – now!
“So I set up Skype, thinking I was going to get a telling-off, because his message made it clear it was urgent. Even though I hadn’t done anything wrong, I was a bit worried – but instead I got the great news about a benefit!
“I’ve got a few events planned but it’s quite hard at the minute, because the fixtures are not out yet. Once the fixtures are out, then I can start putting pen to paper on some events.
“I’ve got Richard Brice as my chairman and he’s done four or five benefits – and a good thing is that we haven’t a benefit for quite a while now.
“Tres (Marcus Trescothick) was the last one, in 2008, so it will have been a good five years. I’m just hoping that people out there will help and support me in any way they can.”
Somerset are yet to appoint a director of cricket following Brian Rose’s departure – but Suppiah, who reported back for pre-season fitness testing this week, said life was carrying on as normal.
“We’ve built a good culture and system over the last five or six years, so everything seems to be running smoothly and everyone knows their roles,” he said.
“I don’t know when the new appointment is going to be made but I’m sure that, whoever comes in, there are going to be changes, as you would expect.
“That will be quite interesting and quite refreshing to see happening, but the structure is all well in place.”
Ian Bell will put his family first and his place in England’s Test side second when he flies home for the birth of his first child. Bell will leave his team-mates behind in India after the first Test in Ahmedabad, and will miss the second match of four in Mumbai.
The accomplished middle-order batsman accepts he may be giving others a chance to replace him for more than one Test – but that is a risk he is prepared to take.
“I had a really good chat with [team director] Andy Flower in the summer, and he was really supportive about me going home,” he said.
Bell expects to regain his place when he returns from his fatherly duties, but will not be taking that for granted.
“I’d like to think so,” he said.
“If we win the Test that I miss and something happens, I will have to fight like hell to get my place back.
“That’s the risk you take. But it is the most exciting part of my life, and I am willing to do that. I’d like to think I’d be able to come straight back into the team, and I hope we win the Test,” he added.