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Page last updated at 12:27 GMT, Tuesday, 14 April 2009 13:27 UK

Caddick confident of top finish

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Veteran Caddick fit and raring to go

Andy Caddick believes Somerset have the squad to go all the way in the County Championship despite no new arrivals.

Somerset finished fourth in Division One in 2008 and have lost all-rounder Ian Blackwell to champions Durham.

But Caddick told BBC Points West: "We showed last year that we had the side and we've got the side again this year.

"The benefit now is that the guys know what first division cricket's about, having tasted it last year, and they're hungry for success."

Fast bowler Andy Sutton and veteran Keith Parsons followed experienced all-rounder Blackwell in leaving in the winter, with the gaps in the squad filled by the promotion of four academy players.

Batsmen Chris Jones and Jos Butler have been handed contracts, along with pace bowlers James Burke and Adam Dibble, while another fast bowler David Stiff is on a two-month trial.

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Despite their promise, their youth means there will be even greater emphasis on the performances and consistency of the experienced core of Caddick and his fellow former internationals, Justin Langer and Marcus Trescothick, than before.

Veteran bowler Caddick, who will be playing in front of a pavilion bearing his name at a re-developed Taunton, is confident about his fitness after suffering with a back problem 12 months ago.

"There was only one major injury last year and unfortunately that had a knock-on effect and I didn't really get going until the end of the season," added the 40-year-old.

"But once I was going I was fully fit. I've had a 20-year career with only two seasons off so I'm going pretty well and I'm feeling pretty fit this year.

"My target for the season is to be fit every game. If I am, I'll be taking wickets."

Trescothick's aim is to have a "bumper season" with the bat and help Somerset across the line to claim a first Championship title after going so close last season.

Somerset sat top of the pile in their first season in Division One before failing to win a game in the final two months of the campaign and falling to fourth with a last-round loss at home to Lancashire.

They open their account this year at home to Warwickshire on Wednesday 15 April, boosted by the decision of Langer to spend springtime in Somerset rather than chase Indian Premier League glory in South Africa.

Championship is ultimate aim - Trescothick

But while the focus is on four-day cricket, Trescothick, 33, concedes it is time the county found some form to match in the shorter version of the game.

"We go into every year looking at every competition and trying to make a bid to win every game we play," he told BBC Points West.

"If we're going to sit down and say we're allowed to pick one to win we'll probably say the Championship.

"But we realise our one-day cricket's not been quite up to the scratch standard that we need to be to compete, so it's something we've addressed and hopefully it's something we can put right."

Trescothick and Caddick are the only survivors on the books from the last time the county won one-day silverware eight years ago, but director of cricket Brian Rose believes the time is right for the club to make an impact in the format again.

"It's something we're looking to improve on," Rose told BBC Points West.

"We know that we haven't done well enough consistently. We've done well in two or three games and then performed badly in a couple.

"So we've got to get our average up from about 60% winning to 75-80% before we have a chance and we've got the squad that can do it."



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see also
Trescothick rejects England plea
11 Apr 09 |  England
Langer chooses Somerset over IPL
07 Apr 09 |  Somerset
County season preview 2009
14 Apr 09 |  Counties


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