In Part 2 of our interview with Matt Maynard, he discusses the targets for the season ahead, Marnus Labuschagne’s amazing run of form, and the impacts on preparing for the season by the increasing measures of preventing the Coronavirus.
“The lads will have learned a lot from last year”
After the best County Championship season in half a decade, where Glamorgan stayed in the promotion race until the final weekend, Maynard is keen to use that experience as a platform for future success, while using past successes to help learn from the mistakes made during last year’s Vitality Blast campaign.
“It is obvious to say but we want to be as successful as possible and we will go out there trying our best to win every single game of cricket that we play. We won’t take any competition lightly. That’s the way we’ve got to be.
‘We got a decent foundation in County Championship cricket last year, we tailed off a little bit towards the end, but the guys haven’t been used to playing in those pressure situations for promotion so that was a really good learning curve for the boys, getting used to playing big games in the championship which they haven’t been doing for a number of years now. That was a nice position to be in and I believe the lads will learn a lot from that.
“In T20 cricket, we didn’t get things quite right. We’ve looked over what we did last year, and in previous years, and especially in 2017 when we reached Finals Day, and try to get some similarities with successful years and changing what didn’t work last year. We hope we have found those and we are pressing ahead with clear plans for the season ahead.”
Magic Marnus and Maynard
Marnus Labuschagne arrived at Glamorgan in the spring of 2019 with only a few Test matches behind him. He then left in July to join Australia’s Ashes squad as a man who had hit five centuries in ten games for the Welsh county.
When he returns to Cardiff, he’ll do so as the number three ranked Test batsman and the hottest name in world cricket. As he went on an incredible run of form with the bat, he made a point to credit Maynard with the work the two had done at Sophia Gardens.
“I was delighted for Marnus because of the work ethic that he has and how much he puts into the game, and he lives and breathes cricket. He’ll talk cricket 24/7 given the opportunity. A player like that, with the talent he’s got, it’s great to see it all coming together. He got his game plan a lot clearer in his head and that was probably one of the big differences. We did a little bit of work on his technique but ultimately it was about being clearer in his game, we backed him to give it a go and he did it incredibly successfully.
“I’ve spoken to him a little bit and it was mostly how much he was looking forward to getting back into the Glamorgan environment, and that’s great to hear. Hopefully, we’ll have a much longer association with Marnus - it won’t just be for next year or the season after but it’ll be a bit old school, like Courtney Walsh or Malcolm Marshall, or Clive Rice and Richard Hadlee, where they have an association for a good number of years.
“International cricket is obviously an all year round sport now, so if we can keep Marnus coming back year-in year-out then that’s great for the Glamorgan fans and great for the club. He’s such a good lad and, perhaps more importantly, it’s brilliant for the other players because they can learn so much from him.
Coronavirus impacting the final stage of pre-season
The outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted not just sports, but everyday life, and while the club is following government advice Maynard is hopeful that his players can maintain a state of readiness ahead of when a season starting.
“Obviously there’s quite a bit of uncertainty right now. We had the players come in smaller groups to start the week and they were in a good mood as usual, but we’ve now got to adapt when guys can’t come in.
“I was going to take them up Pen-y-fan but that’ll now change, but I’ve got a couple of things I’m excited for them to try while we are all away from the ground.
“Hopefully we can work out a way to train again properly, whether that’s 1-to-1 or smaller groups, but health is obviously the priority here. Tom Turner, our S&C coach, has been sending programmes for the players and they can all do stuff to keep ticking along and home and being proactive, so it could be throwing a ball into a wall 30 times three times a week to keep the shoulder loose or bowlers going through their actions or bowling into a wall.
“I’m not too worried about the guys from a cricket point of view or that they have a little break. From a bowling perspective, they should just keep it ticking over but from a batting perspective I'm not too worried that they are not having a hit over the next few weeks. They worked tremendously hard over pre-season, I think the guys are in a good place.
“They’ve done a bit of homework! The response I’ve had from that has been brilliant and the clarity the boys have sent in that message.
“We’ve got a long way to go and things are changing day-by-day, but it’s not really a holiday for the boys. It’s a bit of down time for players to recover, and hopefully next week we’ll get a bit more of an update with what’s happening in the season.
“It’s not something we’ve ever experienced before, but it’s important we try to stay ready for the season…whenever that may start.”
Read part one of our interview with Matt Maynard here.