NEW CONTRACTS OFFERED
Cricbuzz Staff •
It is believed that Somerville had also contacted outgoing coach Mike Hesson regarding his intentions and was encouraged to pursue the same. © Getty
Australia offspinner Will Somerville has been signed up by Auckland upon the recommendation of former New Zealand veteran spinner Daniel Vettori. The New Zealand-born Somerville made his first-class debut for Otago before moving to the Australian state side New South Wales. The 33-year-old hasn’t played much cricket during a career spanning 13 years – 16 matches for 55 wickets and always trailed behind Nathan McCullum in the Otago state side, before making to move to Sydney where he received his primary education. While working as a chartered accountant in the city and playing grade cricket, the offie was offered a contract by New South Wales.
Somerville had come close to securing a Test spot a couple of seasons ago when he finished the Sheffield Shield season with 35 wickets. However, in the last season, he could manage to play just one match, falling behind internationally experienced spinners in Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe. Auckland Aces coach Mark O’Donnell first learnt about Somerville’s intentions of moving back to his country of birth from Wellington coach Bruce Edgar. And with Tarun Nethula focused on just white-ball cricket, O’Donnell felt Somerville would fit in perfectly for that role. Having sought advice from NSW batting coach Mark O’Neill, Chris Lynn and Vettori, O’Donnell struck a meeting with the offspinner.
“He [Vettori] said he’s very good, he has some very good skills, and that’s what we require with Tarun finishing,” O’Donnell said. “At 6 foot 4 he gets good bounce and revs on the ball so there’s assets to that.”
New Zealand Cricket followed its process before approving of the move. It is believed that Somerville had also contacted outgoing coach Mike Hesson regarding his intentions and was encouraged to pursue the same. Auckland coach O’Donnell feels Somerville should not be written off just for his age and can move up the ladder quickly if he puts in the performances.
“Jeetan Patel did it [played Test cricket] at 36, if you had a couple of injuries. Two years ago they were looking potentially at him [Somerville] in the Australian set-up. You would never say never, if he had a couple of strong years,” O’Donnell said.