Glamorgan’s reserve wicket-keeper Tom Cullen says that he is hoping to provide the club with a selection headache when captain and first choice keeper Chris Cooke returns from an ankle ligament injury in the coming weeks.
Australian-born Cullen has provided effective cover with bat and gloves, including a match-winning unbeaten 51 at Derby last month. He followed that up with 63 against Northants and another half-century (50) against Middlesex at Radlett this week.
“It’s been quite pleasing to get an opportunity and to contribute to a really good win up in Derby, but also on the back of that, another good win away at Northants. It’s one thing to get an opportunity, but it’s another thing to go in and really grasp it with both hands. I was just really pleased that I did that and showed a few people what it is that I can contribute to the club.
“Chris [Cooke] is a really great player and has been for Glamorgan for a number of years now. We obviously want him to get back fit as quickly as he can. But if I can provide a selection headache for them, that’s good for the club. But failing that, I am the number two at the club, and I’ll contribute as best I can, in any way that I can.”
Even when Cooke does eventually don the gloves again, Cullen doesn’t rule out the possibility of claiming a batting spot in the side.
“I’m sure it might be an avenue where I can potentially play. I’m not getting ahead of myself too much, though. When he’s fit again, that’s a decision that’ll be up to the management. The only thing I can keep doing is to keep trying to perform and contribute to the performances we’re showing out on the park, which have been pretty positive.”
Such positivity, according to Cullen, can be attributed to the new combination of Mark Wallace as Director of Cricket and Matthew Maynard as Head Coach, and also to the new additions to the playing staff.
“Matt and Mark were adamant that we needed to be tougher to beat as a team and as a club, and we needed to change some attitudes around the circuit of who we are against who we were. That, I guess, has been the most pleasing thing, that we are and continue to be unbeaten, and we’re hoping to remain unbeaten for as long as we can.
“We’ve obviously had some brilliant additions to the squad and the team that have come in and done really well – Rooty [Billy Root], Charlie Hemphrey, Marnus Labuschagne – but it’s just an attitude change that Mark and Matt have come in with, and have brought a really positive attitude to the players, and have given them a really positive outlook on how to play cricket.”
As well as an attitude change, Cullen believes that pride in the county and what it stands for, as the only Welsh side in the County Championship, has also played a significant part in the team’s success this year.
“Glamorgan is obviously a big club in Wales and our mantra remains the same, which is that we want to Make Wales Proud, and we obviously want to make our supporters really proud.”
The daffodil county will be hoping to carry that Welsh pride with them when they venture over the bridge this weekend to take on nearest rivals Gloucestershire in their next Specsavers County Championship match in Division Two.
“We obviously know them very well. We play a lot against them, we know what they’re about and how good they can be. We go into that game the same as we’ve gone into every game in the past five or six. We go in, take them on, play hard cricket and we’ll be tough to beat. Hopefully, in the game, we can get ahead and go there and get a really positive result going in to the last three games before the T20s.”
By Alun Rhys Chivers for the ECB Reporters’ Network