Newell 'satisfied' With Notts' 2011
Featured News | 30th September 2011
Asked if Notts CCC's 2011 County Championship season was pleasing or disappointing, director of cricket Mick Newell instead comes up with a third adjective to synopsise his assessment: satisfactory.
It is an entirely appropriate summary of a green and golds campaign that had its moments, good and bad.
The team started as if they had every prospect of defending the title they won so memorably in 2010 with three wins on the bounce.
But after a home draw with Yorkshire, four consecutive defeats followed that not only extinguished such hopes, but also set one or two tongues wagging about the prospect of relegation.
Thankfully for Notts, that problem never materialised as they promptly went six games unbeaten, including wins over title winners Lancashire and challengers Durham.
The season, of course, was to finish on a low note with consecutive defeats, leading to a sixth place finish.
Even so, Newell is phlegmatic about the position in which the club finds itself.
"The fact is we have set ourselves pretty high targets in the past few years, finishing second, second, first. I think that's probably as good as anyone in the country," said Newell.
"People have to be realistic – it's not like football where you get the same teams dominate. The three teams in contention for the title this year were different to last year.
"That's why I think satisfactory would be my assessment. We haven't challenged for the title as we wanted to, but we have made sure we were not involved in a relegation battle.
"I said at the time that our victory at home to Durham was one of my best during my time here and I stick by that when you look at the age and experience of the two teams.
"To win against Lancashire at Southport was also a terrific effort and the win at Yorkshire was pretty amazing, even if the performance was not great.
"On the other side of the coin, to lose as we did against Sussex at Hove on television when we had both (Stuart) Broad and (Graeme) Swann available was a game to forget, as were the final two games of the season.
"I think the players and myself took our foot off the gas, but it is hard when you have nothing to play for and the players had put such a lot into getting themselves in a safe position in the first place."
Although Notts are presumed to be one of the best payers of player wages in the country, the club are seemingly punching above their weight in that regard.
However, Newell is clear that while finance has a part to play, it is not the critical factor it is in other sports.
He said: "We are by no means the top payers. I would say we are in the bottom half (of the 18).
"People assume you are because you're a Test match venue, but of course you need more staff to keep a venue like that running.
"Other clubs are spending more on players but with varying degrees of success.
"It certainly does not have as dramatic an effect as in football. You are not going to get someone to move from Somerset to Durham, for example, for the difference in what the different counties could offer.
"From a Notts point of view, I'm happy with our budget and what we can offer."
A week ago, Notts were given the news that they would be staging Ashes Tests matches in 2013 and 2015, with a Test against India in between.
It was the best result that the county could have hoped for and Newell has no doubt the ramifications will filter down to the county side.
"The award of those matches will have a huge effect on everything," he said. "It gives security to the players and the cricketing budget.
"It gives us a clear path going forward and is a massive success that I'm sure will also see further redevelopment at the ground.
"That's not to mention that the likes of Alex Hales, certainly in 2015, Samit Patel and, who knows who else in the future, have the incentive to play in the Ashes on their home ground."
Looking back on the t20 season, Notts were brilliant in the group stages to win their section, only to come up against an inspired Somerset in the knock-out quarter-final.
Newell said: "We needed to play at 100 per cent and we were at something like 90 per cent in that t20 quarter-final. We were pretty unlucky to draw Somerset having won the group!
"But it was a fantastic run we had, especially at home with the big crowds we had.
"The key thing going forward is to identify the nine or ten players we want playing regularly and then add two overseas to that.
"With England playing we may lose Samit Patel, which may mean a spinning all-rounder to go with a batsman could be the way to go."
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