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'Outstanding' Somerset cricketer retires after eye injury

Craig Kieswetter (right) was a successful and popular player for both Somerset and England. Credit: Jed Leicester/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Somerset and England cricketer Craig Kieswetter is retiring from professional sport due to the serious eye injury he suffered last summer.

The 27-year-old wicketkeeper and batsman fought to recover after a ball went through his helmet grille while batting in July, causing serious damage to his eye socket and impairing his vision.

He returned to cricket after surgery, but realised his vision was still problematic. He has now made the decision to retire - but says he finishes his career with no regrets.

Today Somerset Cricket said he had made an "immense" contribution to both the club and the national team, and described him as "gifted" and "popular".

"This is sad news for all concerned. Craig is a very popular member of the squad and has made a real impression on the Club during his years here.

He has been a major influence both on and off the field and will be missed by players, coaches, staff and fans alike." "He is an extremely gifted cricketer who could win a game on his own. His record speaks for itself and the game will miss him. I would have loved to have worked with him this year but it just wasn't to be."

– Matt Maynard, Director of Cricket, Somerset Cricket

“This is awful news both for Craig and the Club but we completely understand why he has come to this difficult decision.

“Craig has made an immense contribution to the success of Somerset and England since joining us. His performances with the bat and gloves have been outstanding and have endeared him to all cricket fans, not just at Somerset but right across the globe.

On behalf of the General Committee and all Somerset Members and supporters I would like to publically thank Craig for his superb contribution to Somerset and to wish him all the best fortune in his future endeavours. He will be greatly missed and will always receive a very warm welcome at the County Ground.”

– Guy Lavender, Somerset CEO

“After been given the opportunity to take some time off and step away from the game, I’ve come to the decision that wasn’t the easiest to make, yet I feel is the right one.

“Having gone through that experience of my eye injury and everything it entailed, I feel mentally I will never again be the player that I was.”

“I have had a terrific career, with plenty of ups and occasional downs, and I am calling time on my career and walking away with no regrets.

“There are so many people that I am grateful to yet most importantly I need to thank my family, without whom nothing I have achieved would have been possible. Their sacrifices to help me to be able to achieve some fantastic success defines the importance of family.

“I’d also like to thank Somerset County Cricket Club for giving me the opportunity to play as a professional, to help mould me and for their loyalty. It is a Club full of so many incredible people and with a great bunch of supporters.

“I would especially like to thank Brian Rose, the former Director of Cricket who gave me my first contract at Somerset, Andy Hurry who was my first team coach and Darren Veness who helped to make me into what I am today. These three guys have been huge influences to me in my career.”

“I’ll have so many memories of a career that spanned nine years of my life during which I have made so many friends. See you all on the sidelines!”

– Craig Kieswetter

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Somerset's Chris Gayle confident of another big innings at the County Ground

Big-hitter Chris Gayle says the size of the County Ground works in his favour. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA

Somerset cricket fans will be hoping for another big innings from Chris Gayle tonight, when they take on Hampshire in the T20 Blast.

The West Indian batsman has already hit 243 runs in his first two matches, including 151 not out last Sunday against Kent. He says the size of the County Ground helps.

When you have a good wicket and these decent-sized boundaries the ball will tend to fly - over the rope and outside of the ground as well.

– Chris Gayle, Somerset CCC

Somerset Cricket sign West Indies batsman Chris Gayle

Somerset County Cricket Club have signed West Indies player Chris Gayle for the Natwest T20 Blast season.

Chris Gayle has signed as an international for Somerset's T20 squad Credit: Somerset County Cricket Club

The 35-year-old batsman can boast 13 centuries and 45 half centuries in T20 cricket as well as a test cricket score of 333 - his second triple century -in 2010.

Left-handed Gayle also made One-Day World Cup history when he reached a double century in the West Indies win over Zimbabwe.

I’m excited about joining Somerset for the NatWest T20 Blast this year. Many of the Club’s Members and supporters will know that I came close to playing for the County in 2012 and I have always felt that, if I was able to, I wanted to honour that commitment to Somerset. I’m looking forward to coming to Taunton and scoring some runs.

– Chris Gayle

Some of Gayle's stats:

  • Played in 45 T20 Internationals, scoring 1406 runs at an average of 35.15 with a highest score of 117.
  • He scored 13 centuries and 45 half centuries.
  • Played in an additional 195 T20 matches, amassing 6975 runs at an average 42.01 with a top score of 175.
  • He scored 1 century and 13 half centuries.
  • In Test cricket he has scored 7214 runs in 103 matches at an average of 42.18.
  • His highest Test score came in 2010 when he made 333 against Sri Lanka in Galle. This was his second triple century and surpassed his previous best of 317 against South Africa in 2005.
  • In 268 One Day Internationals he has scored 9160 runs at an average of 37.23.

Somerset Cricket Club launch their 2015 season

Somerset Cricket Club captain Marcus Trescothick, Head Coach Matt Maynard, Chairman Andy Nash and One Day and T20 captain Alfonso Thomas have launched the County's season today ahead of the club's photo shoot this morning.

Somerset Cricket squad for the 2015 season in the club's one day kit Credit: ITV News

Somerset County Cricket Club chairman Andy Nash told media in Taunton this morning the County would never merge with Gloucestershire, or any other place, in T20 cricket or any possible future English Premier League.

After England's failure in the recent World Cup the ECB is examining all options to improve England's future success in the one day game.

But Andy Nash says Somerset can stand on its own two feet and produce great local players to compete in one day cricket without becoming a franchise branded with the name of a company.

Somerset Cricket launch their season Credit: ITV News

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Matt Maynard takes up his post at Somerset Cricket Club

Matt Maynard is Somerset's new Director of Cricket Credit: ITV News

Somerset's newly appointed Director of Cricket, Matt Maynard, started his new post at the County Ground today.

He's been charged with returning the club to the top of the game and delivering trophy success - and he says he can achieve it.

As a player, Maynard delivered the goods, He captained Glamorgan - the club he served for twenty years - to their very first Championship title in 1997, ironically enough by defeating Somerset at Taunton on the last day of the season.

No one has ever managed to lead Somerset to the game's top prize in 132 years but Maynard can't wait to get started.

He says: "It hasn't really fulfilled its potential over the last couple of years and you want to try and create an environment to allow the players to fulfil that, and hopefully I can bring that to them."

Tom Maynard was killed by a train in London two years ago Credit: ITV News

Maynard admitts that the death of his son, Tom, two years ago left him questioning his future within the game. The 23 year old cricketer was struck by a train in London.

"It was last winter really that I thought I'd lost the will to coach if I'm honest, and then working with the under 19's last winter in preparation for the World Cup - I loved it and I got that real buzz back again, you know I thought this feeling had gone and there is was, it was back again."

Somerset now hope he can lead them back out of the gloom and propel the club to new heights.

Marcus Trescothick cycles for charity

Marcus Trescothick cycles for charity Credit: ITV News West Country

A group of cricketers, including Somerset captain Marcus Trescothick and recently-departed wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, are involved in a charity bike ride across the country.

The ride started at Durham's Riverside ground and will finish at Lord's on Tuesday. The cricketers will cover more than 400 miles and are raising money for the Tom Maynard Trust and the Professional Cricketers' Association Benevolent Fund.

Overton twins sign new contracts with Somerset

Jamie Overton signs contract extension with Somerset Credit: David Davies/PA Archive/Press Association Images

North Devon twins Craig and Jamie Overton have signed extensions to their contracts with Somerset County Cricket Club for a further three seasons.

The 19 year olds graduated through the Somerset Academy and made their County debuts in 2012.

Since then they have both gone on to play for the England Lions while Jamie was a member of the England One Day squad for the series against Australia during this summer.

Craig Overton in action Credit: David Davies/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Somerset’s Director of Cricket Dave Nosworthy said: “As a Club we are extremely pleased to have secured these two young diamonds. Both Craig and Jamie are very highly rated nationally and as west-country lads we are excited to be able help them develop and have them performing on the field for us.

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