Dion Stovell has had a change of heart and is fighting to regain his place in Somerset’s Cup Match team after a six-year absence.
The St David’s and Bermuda all-rounder has ended his self-imposed exile after making himself unavailable for selection in the aftermath of Somerset’s two-wicket defeat against holders St George’s at Wellington Oval in 2011.
“Dion has been out training consistently and we are pleased to see him back out,” said Michael Corday, the Somerset selection committee chairman.
“Dion seems very enthusiastic and ready to go. He’s in good form and we’re pleased to see him out.”
The early-order batsman and off spinner has made his mark in the Premier Division and Eastern Counties competition but has so far been unable to stamp his authority on Cup Match. He scored two runs in as many visits to the crease during his previous appearance.
The champions will be forced to make at least two changes after the retirement of former captains Janiero Tucker and Jacobi Robinson, who both bowed out after last year’s contest at Somerset Cricket Club ended in a draw.
Somerset’s preparations for their title defence are well under way, with Corday encouraged by the numbers attending training sessions and the level of enthusiasm shown by the players.
“Training is right where it needs to be and we must have had 20-odd players out the other night, which is very encouraging,” said the former Willow Cuts wicketkeeper-batsman.
“For this time of the year we actually have more players out now than we have had [in the past] and next week it will get better in terms of numbers.
“We have established a policy at Somerset where we don’t actually invite players out, the guys know when the notice gets put in the paper and by word of mouth.
“Everybody knows when Cup Match training is and know what our policy is and know if you come training then you have as much of a chance as anybody else of making the team.”
Somerset have scheduled one trial match before they select their team. “We would like to have two trial matches but we are not sure how it’s going to go,” Corday said. “We have tried to have other trials but they haven’t really come off because of counties or national duty.
“We rely more on quality training sessions than trial matches. We’re really focusing on highly competitive and intense sessions and if we can get a trial in, we get a trial in.”