Yet again I have found myself facing questions about Somerset’s inability to lose the tag of ‘nearly-men’ over the past few days and I only wish I had a some answers.
Last weekend’s Clydesdale Bank 40 final defeat by Surrey at Lord’s was a familiar story of the team not performing to anything like our full potential on the big occasion. We had a game plan, which failed to work, and from the outset didn’t give ourselves the best chance of winning.
We are obviously a decent side because we keep getting to finals. A lot of counties would like to swap their records for ours over the past three seasons and we shouldn’t lose sight of that.
But the inescapable truth is that, for whatever reason, when it matters most we are not good enough.
Once the squad return from the Champions League in India, there will be a meeting involving myself, director of cricket Brian Rose, coach Andy Hurry and chief executive Guy Lavender.
We need to brainstorm at that get-together, by which I mean each of us has to throw every thought we have about what has been holding Somerset back from winning a trophy into the pot and let it boil.
We need to look at the team, our set-up, game plans, who works with who, and a lot more, trying to identify an area where we are going wrong.
I don’t pretend to have the answers. But I believe we have to break things down into small parts and examine each one if we are to find a solution to a problem that is proving intensely frustrating.
Nothing must be too delicate to discuss. We have to be open about every aspect of the club and find a way of coming back even stronger next year with a winning formula.
Against Surrey our top six batsmen, myself included, did not play well enough in a pressure situation. Although you are never out of a game until the proverbial fat lady sings, we didn’t give ourselves much of a chance by being reduced to 79 for 5.
It was very hard work from then on. But there was one major exception to our batting failures because Jos Buttler played an innings that was an absolute joy to watch.
For a lad of his inexperience, it was an incredibly mature knock in terms of reading the situation and playing in a manner exactly suited to it. Jos is a huge talent, as I am sure England supporters are going to see on many occasions in the years to come.
His efforts were insufficient because not enough other players stepped up to the plate to support him. We could have bowled better, but the bottom line was that we didn’t get enough runs on the board to put Surrey’s batsmen under any pressure.
Rory Hamilton-Brown played really well, but we dropped him before he had scored and that is the sort of thing that happens when you are behind the eight ball in a match.
When we finally work things out and learn what it takes to produce our maximum when it matters most, brilliant catches will stick and help change games for us.
Brian Rose tells me that the Somerset team he captained were runners-up on several occasions before clinching their first trophy and going on to more successes in what are considered the club’s ‘glory years’.
Maybe it is a Somerset characteristic. Whatever the case, we can afford to leave no stone unturned in looking for a solution because we need to become winners while the nucleus of the current squad remain together.