Somerset CCC: Brian Rose says only 'thin' chance of new loan bowler
BRIAN Rose has conceded that Somerset's chances of finding a short-term loan signing to cover for their injured bowlers are now "thin" – but the director of cricket is not losing any sleep over it.
Somerset have been exploring which temporary options are available to them since lead bowler Steve Kirby was ruled out for four-to-six weeks with a thigh problem, joining Adam Dibble and Gemaal Hussain on the sidelines.
But Rose has so far been frustrated in his attempts to bring in cover – with Somerset's LV= County Championship Division One rivals understandably reluctant to help them and few viable options available in Division Two.
"I think the loan situation is a bit thin, especially given the time of year," said Rose.
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"I don't suspect anyone from the first division would do any favours for us – and, in the second division, they have got their own affairs to attend to.
"We are not pinning our hopes on the loan market – but then I am not too worried about that."
Somerset fielded four bowlers aged 20 or under – Craig Meschede, Lewis Gregory, George Dockrell and Craig Overton – in their rain-affected draw against Lancashire last week.
And, with Rose confirming that Vernon Philander will not face Surrey in the CB40 on Friday, the quartet could become a quintet if 18-year-old Jamie Overton is selected.
"We are obviously being tested at the moment with three of our major bowlers, Kirby, Dibble and Hussain, being injured," said Rose. "Yes, it is testing our resources, but in one way it's quite an exciting time.
"We've got Lewis Gregory opening the batting, Craig Meschede and the two Overtons playing in the near future – and, for Somerset Cricket, I think that is very exciting.
"The next couple of weeks will be important for our youngsters. They are going to get the opportunity to play in the games – and they have to get the overs in before you make any real kind of assessment.
"They will play in two or three Championship games – and they have to have five or six innings, or 100 overs, under their belts before you can really say whether they can keep playing as a bunch at this level."
Somerset, having also lost skipper Marcus Trescothick to injury, will be without Nick Compton at Durham next week after he was called up to the England Lions squad. They are also still missing Alfonso Thomas, who is on Indian Premier League duty with Pune Warriors India.
But with so many experienced players unavailable, new leaders are emerging – and Rose was impressed with James Hildreth's captaincy of a young side against Lancashire.
"James is not only playing well, he has also responded very well to the extra responsibility of captaincy," said Rose.
"With Alfonso being away, it is a good coincidence that we appointed Hildy as vice-captain. It's almost fate that he has had to step up and captain the team so early in the season."