In the lead up to the 2016 domestic season, ecb.co.uk is running a series of features with all 18 first-class counties. Glamorgan all-rounder Craig Meschede is eyeing up the one available promotion spot in Division Two.
Achieving promotion in the Specsavers County Championship will be that much tougher than normal in 2016 but all-rounder Craig Meschede is optimistic Robert Croft will lead Glamorgan back to the top flight.
The former England spinner replaced Toby Radford as Glamorgan’s head coach in February and will be aiming to build on last year’s fourth-place finish in his first season in charge.
Croft took 1,126 first-class wickets for Glamorgan during a 24-year playing career and remained at the county as a coach after hanging up his boots.
And that experience will prove crucial to Glamorgan’s hopes of returning to Division One for the first time since 2005, according to Meschede, albeit only the Division Two champions will be promoted this year.
“He’s doing a really good job – it’s nice to see a home-grown player become a coach,” Meschede told ecb.co.uk.
“He suits the job, he gets on well with a lot of the players.
“He’s doing a fantastic job at the moment and I can really see us going forward and taking that Division One spot.
“I don’t think we’ve got to think about it too much. If we play the cricket we did last year the way we started – if we can just maintain that – we’ve got a bigger squad this year, which will help a lot, and last year we had a smaller squad so it was harder on certain players to consistently perform throughout with no rest.
“We’re definitely going to have a chance to go up if we play our best cricket.”
While Croft is part of the furniture at the SSE SWALEC, Meschede is trying to establish himself after completing a permanent move from Somerset in the off-season.
“It’s good to be back, and to be an official Glamorgan player is even better,” said the 24-year-old.
“I still had a year left at Somerset and I just thought that I was going to get more cricket over here at Glamorgan, more opportunity, so I’m delighted that I’ve signed a full-time deal here and I can properly plan my future.”
South Africa-born Meschede scored the first centuries of his career last summer, against Surrey and Northamptonshire, and underlined his all-round ability by taking 40 County Championship wickets with his seamers.
He is hoping to build on his encouraging start to life at Glamorgan and force his way into contention at international level.
“I think this is the year that I really want to push on and start making a name for myself and really put my name in that hat for England Lions and the England tours programme at the end of the year,” Meschede added.
“I’d definitely like to push on and improve on the season I had last year and instead of two hundreds try and score three or four and try and be a little more consistent with the ball throughout, so I’m going to be really working hard and hopefully it will come through.
“Everyone has a guide as to what they want to do and I think it’s just improving and being as consistent as possible.
“Last year I had a really good start and then through the end of the season it sort of just faded away.
“I think a lot of it had to do with mental fatigue – it was the first full season I’ve played in first-class cricket and it was the most overs I’ve ever bowled as well so mentally I was a bit fatigued.
“Now I know what I’m going into and it was good training and preparation for something bigger.
“I think definitely everyone has their guidelines for what they want to do and for me it’s just improving on the consistency, and if I can do that instead of scoring 600 runs a season I can score 1,000.”