Mark Wallace, captain of Glamorgan cricket, has stressed the need for a “winning culture” at the club as the County Championship season draws nearer.
Glamorgan beat Somerset in a two-day friendly match on Tuesday by ten wickets, giving them the perfect start to pre-season and putting them on course for a promising league campaign.
In an exclusive interview with the Cardiffian, Wallace said: “The last few years we’ve probably underachieved a bit as a side, so I think our real aim is to try and get some real improvement from where we’ve been.”
Glamorgan finished sixth in division two of the County Championship last season, fifth in the CB40 and seventh in the T20 competition.
The captain and his team spent a week in La Manga, Spain in preparation for this season.
Wallace said: “It was good to get abroad and into some warm weather and get some training in for five to seven days.
“We’ve been to South Africa and places like that in the past, but to be able to go somewhere as close as Spain is excellent and it has good facilities as well.”
Glamorgan have added two overseas players to the squad since the end of last season, Michael Hogan and Moises Henriques, and Wallace is hopeful the two Aussies will have a real impact.
“Michael Hogan should really help our battery of seam bowlers and take a little bit of pressure off our young bowlers coming through,” said Wallace.
But on the batting front Glamorgan lost top run-scorer and club player of the year Alviro Petersen to Essex in February.
Wallace said: “I think it will have some impact. Alviro’s a very good player and an international standard player and would have fitted into the line up very well.
“Last year he performed for us but there’s no reason why whoever takes his spot, be it one of the younger local lads, can’t perform equally well.”
Of the 24-man Glamorgan squad, 14 players are Welsh.
Wallace said: “We’ve tried to bring in as few additions as possible and that’s still the same. Our aim is to grow Welsh cricket and Welsh cricketers as well, but the reality of that is to be competitive.”
Wallace insisted even though he is now club captain and first choice wicket keeper, the pressure it will not affect his game.
Wallace said: “There’s obviously extra pressure as captain but I’ve got some quite good people around me, some quite senior players, so they’ll take some of the burden as well. If you play well, there’s a lot less pressure.
“It’s quite an old fashioned thing that wicket keepers can’t be captains. It’s something that’s coming a bit more into fashion now and becoming a lot more acceptable.”
Wallace said he does not want to set goals before the season starts and just concentrate on getting a “winning culture around the place.”
“I think goal setting is a really funny one, I mean if you come out this far away from the end of the season saying we’re going to win this competition or that competition I don’t really think that works,” he said.
Wallace said Glamorgan’s aim was to win and play as well as possible while not getting too distracted with long-term aims.
“I think our focus needs to be more short-term and if we string together enough wins the long-term goals will take care of themselves.”
Glamorgan’s first County Championship game is against Leicestershire at Grace Road, on April 5