Coach Robert Croft praises choice over Glamorgan spin bowlers

By Nick WebbBBC Sport Wales
Glamorgan spin bowlers Andrew Salter, Kieran Bull, Dean Cosker
Glamorgan's Andrew Salter, Kieran Bull and Dean Cosker will be looking ahead to the start of first-class cricket on Thursday, April 2, although Bull may be playing against Glamorgan for MCCU

Glamorgan assistant coach Robert Croft has hailed the "terrific" competition between the county's first-team spin bowlers for places in 2015.

Young off-spinners Andrew Salter and Kieran Bull are likely to be competing for a first-team place alongside experienced left-armer Dean Cosker.

"From a coach's point of view I think it's terrific because there's natural competition within the group without you having to stoke it up" said Croft.

"They (Salter and Bull) are both off-spinners but they're very different, and even for Dean Cosker who's been around a long time, having the youngsters snapping at his heels should keep motivating him."

Cosker, who made his debut back in 1996, has just signed a contract extension for 2016 and is happy to take on the senior role after years playing alongside Croft.

"Hopefully I can aid their development into the first team, the transition period between a senior spinner and a young spinner is very important for the club as you saw with Crofty and myself. They've got a lot of talent and potential, and hopefully I can nurture that."

But young rival Andrew Salter will be in the groove from a winter Down Under, training at the Darren Lehmann Academy in Adelaide as well as playing 'A Grade' club cricket for Woodville.

Andrew Salter
Andrew Salter signed his first professional contract with Glamorgan in 2012

"It's proven to be an intense winter's worth of training, the playing conditions haven't provided too much spin, however it has provided a good challenge to work on various tactics and narrow my margin for error. The season has gone well (in Australia) and I've managed to get plenty of overs under the belt" says Salter.

"This has been the first winter I've been able to play a season overseas and I feel more than ready to hit the floor running."

Salter is also keen to play in all forms of cricket this summer.

"My main target for this season is to cement my place in the four-day squad and provide both an attacking and defensive option for the team," he added.

"In both the T20's and one day games I'm looking to improve my economy rate and average, and I feel I have an important role in our lower batting order."

Teenager Bull, who like Salter was born in Haverfordwest, made an unexpected breakthrough into first-team cricket in late 2014.

He has played club cricket at Carmarthen and Neath, as well as coming through the Welsh Schools system and the Glamorgan academy.

"It's been pretty quick over the last couple of years but it's gone really well" said Bull, who cites Croft and former Glamorgan coach Adrian Shaw as his main mentors at Glamorgan.

Glamorgan's spin doctors
Dean Cosker (Age 37) 918 wickets for Glamorgan in all forms. Part of winning side in 1997 (championship), 2002 and 2004 (one-day league.)
Andrew Salter (Age 21) 36 wickets for Glamorgan. Represented England under-19's and played in YB40 final in 2013.
Kieran Bull (Age 19) 7 wickets for Glamorgan including 4 in first innings of debut v Kent in September 2014.

"I was surprised to get the (first-team) call but it was really nice and it started pretty well so hopefully I can take it into this season. We've got two other really good spinners here in Dean and Andrew Salter but hopefully I can push for a place."

Bull could even turn out against Glamorgan in the opening first-class game on Thursday, April 2, as he also represents the Cardiff MCCU, the combined universities team.

But for now it's the senior campaigner Cosker who is likely to spearhead the spinners' efforts in the opening weeks of the season- and he's keen to scotch any suggestion that even he could miss out in the seam-friendly conditions in April.

"I'm very confident I can bowl on all surfaces, I've been doing it for 20 years. I've taken two "five-fors" (five wickets in an innings) in the first four championship games last year, so my confidence is really high bowling early season. I don't see it as a challenge for a spinner."

If the younger men can match the consistency shown by Croft and Cosker over the last 25 years, Glamorgan's spin-bowling could be in safe hands for years to come.