SOMERSET director of cricket Andy Hurry says he is “really excited” about the club’s future, after the latest batch of young players impressed during the truncated 2020 season.

Hurry told the County Gazette that the playing squad’s “creativity and resilience” during lockdown was reflected in how fit they were when cricket was given the green light to restart at the end of July.

“The true measure of how well [the players] took the responsibility on their shoulders was when we returned to training behind closed doors and the players hit the ground running," he said.

“There was a real focus and intensity in our training, and they produced phenomenal performances when the season began.

“I have no doubt that we would have won five out of five in the [Bob Willis Trophy] group stage were it not for the weather at Warwickshire.”

Hurry describes Somerset’s bowling attack as “phenomenal”, with “more to come from them”, and while the Bob Willis Trophy final went the way of Essex, the director of cricket believes that “without a doubt” his side are closer to their rivals than in 2019.

“Essex and Somerset are playing some of the best long-form cricket in the country,” he said.

“We put them under serious pressure, and put down a marker for 2021.”

While Somerset’s T20 campaign was less successful, as they fell short of reaching the knockout stages, Hurry highlights the emergence of young players like Lewis Goldsworthy and Will Smeed.

This was a breakthrough season for Tom Lammonby, too, and Hurry added: “Our young players have demonstrated their potential, and it’s really exciting.

“When you dovetail that with our more experienced players, the future looks incredibly bright for us... I have no doubt about our success going forward.”

A great deal of satisfaction comes from seeing the effort put into youth development yield such results.

Hurry added: “A lot of investment has gone into our Academy, and there’s been a lot of work with our partners in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.

"I think we have a more effective talent ID across the South West now, allowing us to identify players from Under-12 to Under-18 level.

“You also have to be brave to give those young players opportunities.

“There will be inconsistency there, but that’s OK as the players will learn.

“Somerset deserve a lot of credit for being brave and supporting the young players - it’s clearly working well, and there’s more in the pipeline.”

Looking ahead, Hurry said that the plan is for players to return to training on November 2, working towards a full season starting in April.

Coronavirus means that a full 2021 season may not be possible, of course, but Hurry says the club will be “agile in our thinking”.

That applies to the recruitment of overseas players, too, which is a real challenge until next year’s international schedule is confirmed.

Hurry explained: “First and foremost, it [recruitment of overseas players] is about understanding your needs - do you need a batsman, bowler, a specific type of bowler?

“We can then explore what’s available.

“A challenge will be the lack of clarity over the international playing programme [for 2021], as we can have ideas for what we want but it’s difficult to decide until we have that clarity.

“The key is to be prepared, to consider what our needs may be and the landscape ahead.”