Specsavers County Championship: Division 2 (2017 performance - 6th)
Royal London One-Day Cup: South Group (2017 performance – 7th)
Vitality Blast: South Group (2017 performance – 9th)
Captains: Chris Dent (County Championship and Royal London One-Day Cup), Michael Klinger (Vitality Blast)
Head Coach: Richard Dawson
Overseas Players: Dan Worrall (County Championship and Royal London One-Day Cup) Andrew Tye (Vitality Blast)
Ins and Outs: In: Ryan Higgins (Middlesex) Out: Brandon Gilmour, Patrick Grieshaber, Phil Mustard
Man on a Mission
Chris Dent – Appointed captain for four-day and 50-over cricket by his beloved home county for the first time, the 26-year-old batsman will be desperately keen to make his mark with a successful campaign. A vitally important cog in Gloucestershire’s batting machine, Dent will be determined to contribute big runs while leading the team in a characteristically laid-back style. He has refused to set specific targets, but wants to see progress in all three competitions after a season of under-achievement in 2017. Maybe there will be a wicket or two with his occasional left-arm spin as in previous years to boost the cause.
One to Watch
Dan Worrall – Head coach Richard Dawson is expecting big things of his latest overseas signing, who looks sure to strengthen a pace attack, which relied too much on Liam Norwell in Championship cricket last season. South Australia seamer Worrall, who will also play in the Royal London One-Day Cup, comes highly recommended as a bowler capable of suiting English conditions. He bowls a full length and hits the pitch hard, according to Michael Klinger and Cameron Bancroft, who have played against him back home. At the age of 26, Worrall has six seasons of State cricket under his belt. He finished second leading wicket-taker in the 2015-16 Sheffield Shield with 44 victims and has been making a strong finish to the current Australian season.
James Bracey – Bristol-born and a product of Winterbourne Cricket Club, as well as Gloucestershire’s Academy, the 20-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman made his Championship debut in the final match of the 2016 season, having already played first class cricket for Loughborough University against Australian Universities. But it was in the last four matches of last summer that left-hander Bracey began to make a significant impact, with scores including 63, 156, 82 not out and 44 in the space of six innings to end the campaign top of the county’s batting averages. The century, in only his fourth Championship appearance, came against Glamorgan at Cardiff and stamped the youngster as an exciting talent.
Prospects For 2018
If new overseas signing Dan Worrall proves a success, Gloucestershire will have a seam attack to more than match most in the Championship Second Division and could prove surprise packets. Liam Norwell claimed 59 wickets in the competition last summer, while Craig Miles can be expected to set up on his tally of 27. David Payne's imminent ankle surgery is a concern, while the suspension of off-spinner Jack Taylor from bowling because of a suspect action, which will cover the entire season, is a another blow, but might offer more opportunities to promising Bristol teenager George Drissell, who made his Championship debut against Northamptonshire last season.
New four-day and 50-over captain Chris Dent will need to inspire a batting line-up, which badly missed Michael Klinger, who played only one-day cricket, and the retired Hamish Marshall in 2017. This summer Klinger will feature in only Vitality Blast and there has to a question-mark over the top order batting in the Championship, which the likes of Benny Howell, Gareth Roderick, James Bracey, Ian Cockbain, Will Tavare and new recruit Ryan Higgins, along with Dent, will be looking to answer.
Worrall will also be central to hopes of success in the Royal London One-Day Cup, which Gloucestershire won only three years ago, while Klinger will shoulder major responsibility for a decent T20 campaign in which Higgins should add some power hitting. A county with a comparatively low budget will again be up against it in all competitions, but in Richard Dawson and Ian Harvey have coaches who will demand high standards and ensure a battling team ethos.
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