Dave Nosworthy: I'm no magician, but I'm here to help Somerset to title
Dave Nosworthy has taken the reins at Somerset and declared: “I’m no magician” – but the new director of cricket has set his sights on bringing the elusive County Championship title to Taunton.
Nosworthy arrived in the country late last week and officially began work at Taunton on Monday, despite having been in regular telephone, email and webcam contact with club players and officials for months.
And, as he and chairman Andy Nash launched the club’s 2013 campaign at the County Ground yesterday, the South African paid tribute to his predecessor, Brian Rose, while acknowledging his challenge as director of cricket was to finally get the club over the line in the Championship.
Despite consistently challenging, Somerset have not won any trophy for eight seasons – and are yet to be crowned county champions in almost 140 attempts.
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But Nosworthy, whose arrival at Taunton was initially held up by red tape, said: “The system I arrive in is not broken by any means, which makes it exciting. I’ll just be looking to polish wherever possible and trying to ensure we can push ourselves up to the next level.
“I’d like to thank Brian Rose for leaving me such a platform – he’s a legend of the game and a legend of Somerset cricket. We’ll be trying to move things on from where Brian has left off, and hopefully we can produce what everyone has been waiting for – the Championship trophy.
“I can assure you I’m no magician but that aim is very much in mind and part of our plans – to try to get across that line and bring something home to the South-West that has been long awaited. That will be a big effort and a big focus for us.”
Nosworthy’s appointment over the winter was the main change for Somerset, who will go into the 2013 season with much the same squad as they had during the last campaign – albeit with Alfonso Thomas available for the whole summer after opting against a final crack at the Indian Premier League.
They look likely to lose top-order batsman Nick Compton to England duty following his back-to-back Test hundreds in New Zealand, but Alviro Petersen has been signed to strengthen the top order, while Marcus Trescothick is fit again after the ankle problems that plagued him in 2011 and 2012.
Nosworthy has clearly done his homework on his new club – and believes getting into the players’ heads and having a good look at their mental approach may be the key to turning them from perennial runners-up into winners. The 45-year-old, who describes himself as a “hands-on director of cricket” who will work closely with his coaching staff and players, said in response to a question about Somerset’s lack of recent honours: “‘So close, so many times’ is a key phrase.
“But I don’t believe there is any magic to it – I firmly believe that in the last couple of seasons the team has very much been on the right track.
“It’s a matter of self-belief and getting over the hurdle of knowing this bugbear has been hanging on the shoulders for 100-plus years. The mental side of things, I think, is massive –and as a squad we’ll be addressing just that.
“There’s no quick-solve – there’s still quite a lot of water to go under the bridge over the next couple of weeks.”
The former Titans, Lions, Canterbury and South Africa A and under-19s coach is planning to take his entire squad away early next month for a non-cricketing trip, where he will try to find clues as to where the extra few per cent that might end the club’s wait for a trophy can be gained.
“One of the nice things we are doing as a team this pre-season – early April – is that we will be travelling away for a couple of days as a squad to spend some real time together, not cricket-related,” he said. “We will really be getting into each other’s minds and heads about what we really want to achieve and where we want to go. And, possibly, there will be things that evolve as to why, mentally, we maybe have not yet been able to get over that line.
“I don’t think it’s a lack of ability, I don’t think it’s a lack of trying, and the board here is massively supportive, so there’s no exact answer. But hopefully the way we mould things will get us to where we want to go.”
Nosworthy, whose family roots can be traced to Devon, played cricket in Yorkshire during his youth – and, impressed by Somerset’s tradition and reputation, was drawn south to Taunton as a spectator.
Now he is back in the county – with the opportunity to stamp his mark on a club who have finished as runners-up on eight occasions across the three major competitions in the past four seasons.
“Somerset is a great club – it was an obvious choice and option to apply for the position, and I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to come here,” said Nosworthy. “I am going to take that opportunity with both hands and make the best of it.”