LIAM Norwell was one of the few shining lights of a difficult 2017 season for Gloucestershire so his absence through injury has understandably been a big blow for their hopes this season.
Without their main strike bowler, the responsibility has fallen on Matt Taylor and Ryan Higgins to lead the Gloucestershire attack, and the former impressed in defeat last week against Northamptonshire, taking four wickets.
Now, with Norwell set to return for the T20 Blast for his first appearances since April, Taylor is hopeful that the West Country side can turn their season around after struggling with both white and red ball so far.
“It was a really big blow to lose Liam,” said Taylor, who has taken 19 wickets in the County Championship at an average of just under 30.
“He’s been quite unfortunate with a couple of injuries but he’s been in the second team in the last few weeks and been working really hard to get back to full fitness.
“It will be great for us to have him back out there.
“It’s sort of what you want as a bowler, you want that responsibility from the team. You want to take it on as well as you can. Liam has obviously been an extremely successful bowler for us for the last few years so guys do have to step up (in his absence) which isn’t a bad thing at all. But it will be great to have him back in the side.
“We’ve got all bases covered with all our bowlers so now it’s a case of whatever is best suited on the day and it’s a pretty strong line-up.
“We just need to get all bases covered with the skills prep and we’ve got a real opportunity with the warm-up games over the next week or so. You can’t really beat match practice so that will be ideal really.”
Last year, Gloucestershire struggled to make a major impact in any of the three competitions, and sitting off the pace in Division Two, and out of the group stages of the Royal London One-Day Cup, the pressure is on in the Blast.
They have the advantage of an extra week’s preparation, something Taylor is keen to take full advantage of ahead of the first game against Somerset a week today.
He added: “We’ve had quite a busy initial period in the season. It’s been pretty hectic with the four-day cricket and the 50-over comp so as a squad we’ve got a nice little block where we can focus on the T20 and hopefully make a good start to the tournament.
“The games come quite thick and fast and if you can get on a roll early on then that really helps you at the back end of the tournament. It only takes a few guys in the team to put in some good performances and hopefully we can get on a bit of a roll.
“It was nice to get a few wickets at Northants. I’ve been happy with how things have been going in the four-day stuff this season, it’s been nice to get a few wickets. I’d like to contribute as much as I can in the T20.”
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