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Gazzard makes his mark

Carl Gazzard used Somerset's unlikely Twenty20 Cup triumph to announce himself as the latest young wicketkeeper to emerge in England.

Carl Gazzard used Somerset's unlikely Twenty20 Cup triumph to announce himself as the latest young wicketkeeper to emerge in England.

The 23-year-old has only eight first-class games to his name, but showed maturity beyond his years as the Sabres beat Leicestershire and Lancashire at The Oval.

In the semi-finals against the holders he hit a crucial 26 at the end of the innings and followed with two stumpings and a run out as Graeme Smith's side defended a low total.

He took a steepling catch in the final and then ran out Stuart Law off the last ball of Lancashire's innings to put his side within touching distance of silverware.

He said: "I've sat and watched for a long part of my career so far, you want to become part of it and this is the first time I can put my performances on a piece of paper and say, 'this is what I can do'.

"I want to do it with Somerset and now it's coming true - it's a dream at the moment."

Of his vital innings against the Foxes, he added: "There's a bit of pressure going in with four or five overs to go and knowing if you get out we'll get only 140 and that wouldn't be enough.

"You have to play responsibly and know your own game."

Perhaps it is too early to judge his glovework and batting, but his ability to seize the initiative when offered makes Gazzard a prospect for future success.

Victory looked a slim prospect in the semi-final - openers HD Ackerman and Darren Maddy were cruising towards a win - before Gazzard held his nerve to drag his side back into contention.

"From my position I could see people, the body language was down and heads were dropping," he added. "I just try and lift them. you clap them and say, 'come on, come with us'.

"We have a belief that if we get a wicket then we can pressurise a new batsman and go from there. We keep plugging away.

"Most people, I believe, would have dropped but we keep fighting away."

Gazzard believes Smith's leadership has been the key to their progress, adding: "We're a young side, there were no expectations on us and we just show people what we can do.

"We know we're good players and we have a fantastic leader who drives us on to do better - he's never satisfied. We live with that and take it on ourselves."

source - sportinglife.com
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