A new writer for Y Ddraig, Niall Owens looks at Glamorgan’s prospects for the upcoming season and gives us reasons to be hopeful. A recommended read.

Glamorgan kicked off their pre-season preparations last week as they plan ahead of a busy 2018 campaign that gets underway on the 20th of April when they travel to Gloucestershire.

Ahead of the new season, I take a look at the state of the team as they look to improve on an encouraging campaign last time out.

The foundation was laid in place last year, with a much-improved season that saw them reach finals day in the T20 Blast and finish seventh in Division Two of the County Championship. As well as this they picked up 4 wins from their 8 one day cup games narrowly missing out on a spot in the quarter-finals.

The off-season has seen many changes takes place on and off the field with club legend Matthew Maynard taking up a role as a Batting Consultant to work under head coach Robert Croft.

On the field, we have seen the biggest shake-up of the system with Colin Ingram now taking up the captaincy in white ball cricket on a full-time basis, with the veteran Michael Hogan leading the team in the longer format.

We’ve also seen the retirement of fans favourite Will Bragg from illness, which has countered by the signature of Australian middle-order batsman Shaun Marsh. Marsh who is currently competing in the Ashes will be available for Glamorgan in all formats, although his arrival is dependent on his involvement in the Indian Premier League.

A major positive for fans is that the club has a strong core of young Welsh talent at their disposal, the final game of 2017 saw 8 academy graduates feature in the XI.

The current crop is headed up by the exuberant and entertaining Aneurin Donald, who holds the record for the joint fastest double century. Teenager Kiran Carlson signed a three-year contract extension before Christmas, Carlson holds the youngest player in English first-class history to record a century and take a five-wicket haul.

The academy is producing Welsh talent which is essential for the growth of the county and we can expect to see further examples of players making breakthroughs into first-team action. Two names to watch out for 2018 are Prem Sisodiya and Roman Walker who are both set to feature for England in the Under-19s World Cup and were both involved in squads in 2017.

Add into the mix the experience of the likes of Graham Wagg, Hogan, Marsh and Chris Cooke there is serious cause for optimism heading into 2018.  But as preparations for the new season get underway, Croft and his coaches will be looking to add more depth to the squad especially in batting to ensure the team continue on an upward trajectory.

Article was written by Niall Owens

Feature Picture Credit: http://www.walesonline.co.uk