Getting ready for 2008

Featured News | 2nd November 2007

Chris Read has warned his Nottinghamshire team-mates that winning promotion in the LV County Championship was just the easy part . . . the hard work starts here.

While the 29-year-old looks back on the 2007 season with satisfaction, he is very aware the standard in Division One has risen and that Notts must raise their game to successfully compete in the top flight again.

But the new skipper is also confident his side can do just that and is aiming to mount another challenge for the Championship trophy, as they managed triumphantly in 2005.

He said: “We are under no illusions about how tough Division One will be, but we saw in the way our fortunes swung from 2005 to 2006 how fine the margins are.

“If next season goes to plan, then I believe we can push to win it again. On the other hand, if we suffer another bad run of injuries to our bowling attack, then we might find ourselves in another dogfight at the other end of the table.

“We know the teams will be stronger and the standards higher than ever, but I think our squad is also better equipped to deal with that.

“We’ll need to focus on hanging in there and winning sessions of play. The more times you do that, then the more you find yourself coming out at the end of the match with the victory.”

Notts certainly did that at the start of the summer, with four wins and a draw from their first five matches representing their best start to a season since 1922.

But the next victory did not appear for more than two months, with Somerset taking over top spot and claiming wins in the fixtures between the two sides as they raced away with the Division Two title.

Read accepts that the Cidermen were worthy winners but believes the two defeats will provide all the incentive Notts need to look for revenge in 2008.

And while he doesn’t want to make excuses, he also pointed out that things might have been a lot different but for a horrendous run of injuries to their fast bowlers.

He added: “Without labouring on the point, when we had a fully fit attack at the start of the season, we were picking up victories.

“It was a pretty extreme situation - at one point we had seven men out, including people brought in on loan, so to get through that and still achieve our ultimate goal of promotion was a pretty good effort.

“One of the key factors in our Championship-win in 2005 was largely avoiding injury and being able to field a consistent XI for every game.

“We’ll need that kind of run again next year and have to be wary about potentially losing Stuart Broad, Ryan Sidebottom and Graeme Swann to England, but I know Mick Newell is looking at what players are available to boost the squad.”

In one-day cricket, Read is confident the Outlaws’ steady improvement over the past three seasons can continue and is targeting an appearance in either the Friends Provident Trophy or Twenty20 Cup Final next season.

“Slowly but surely, we’ve become a better one-day unit and the aim for 2008 must be to push on and qualify for a major final,” he said.

“In the Trophy we narrowly missed out on a semi-final appearance because of a very close defeat by Durham, the eventual winners.

“And in the Twenty20 Cup we were bitterly disappointed to lose out to Kent in the quarter-final, as we had a lot of pride in our record at Trent Bridge in the competition.

“In the last two years our only losses at home have been to the respective winners, so that gives us a platform from which to build.

“And with the NatWest Pro40, we ended up second. Again, there is little margin for error, but if we fall on the right side of the line, we can push for that title as well.”

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