Morris faces Glamorgan challenge
8th, CC Div 2; 3rd Midlands/West Div, FLt20; Runners-up, YB40.
2013 in a nutshell
Glamorgan should look back on 2013 with a little smile. Any campaign that ends with a Lord's final should go down as memorable year and that it was only their third trip to the end of season showpiece places Mark Wallace's side among a select group of players from across the Severn Bridge to have taken their county to HQ.
After several years in the doldrums it was welcome success for their supporters who filled the Ageas Bowl with hymns on a sunny Saturday in Southampton as Glamorgan caused a major upset by tipping up holders Hampshire in the semi-final. They flopped in the final against a much stronger Nottinghamshire but the day out was reward for Glamorgan's fine form in one-day cricket which also nearly produced a Friends Life t20 quarter-final.
To say their upturn in one-day cricket was offset by a mediocre Championship campaign would be unfair; they were one of five mid-table sides who were only separated by 22 points. Allrounder Jim Allenby was outstanding and seamer Michael Hogan proved one of the overseas signings of the season. Murray Goodwin and Dean Cosker also defied their age. But Glamorgan only won three matches and, particularly with the bat, there was nowhere near the depth required to challenge higher up the table.
Despite some progress on the field last year, Glamorgan have again made changes - not to match the carnage of 2010 but a new regime nevertheless. The transition this time has been far smoother with the hugely popular appointment of Hugh Morris as chief executive and Caerphilly-born Toby Radford installed as head coach.
Morris oversaw the most successful period in English cricket as managing director of the national side and it is now hoped he can return the glory days to Cardiff. Failing that, he could address the balance sheet which showed a £700,000 deficit last season as the club grapples with debt from the ground development. Bids for international cricket from 2017 are also around the corner.
Radford was a slightly more eyebrow-raising appointment but ticks all the boxes, knowing the ethos of the county being an especially important one as Glamorgan look to build from within. The club have several home-grown players with talent, particularly in the bowling department, but the challenge is to bring those players through. A change of coach always presents challenges in the dressing room but as a local man Radford has a head start.
He should not have to tinker too much in the limited-overs competitions but has work to do in reviving Glamorgan's red-ball fortunes. They missed out on promotion in 2010 in the final session of the season but have since failed to mount anything approaching a top-two finish. Their batting, particularly at the top of the order, must become more solid but it is not out of the question that they could be the county that surprisingly emerges from mid-table in 2014.
Church bells rang out across Glamorgan when Allenby signed a new four-year contract last August despite the interest of several other counties. He has held the club together for the past two seasons and in 2013 made over 1900 runs in all competitions, including a superb performance in the YB40 semi-final win over Hampshire. He needs to put up similar numbers to give Glamorgan a base for success.
Bright young thing
Robert Croft has finally thrown his boots in the river Taff but Glamorgan may have a replacement offspinner in Andrew Salter. 20-years-old from Haverfordwest, he played a handy role in the run to the YB40 final and took a wicket with his first ball in the County Championship in August. With veteran Dean Cosker to learn under, Salter could emerge as the latest in a line of successful slow bowlers from across the Severn.
Radford takes over as head coach, returning to his home county after coaching Middlesex, and leading them to the T20 title in 2008, and West Indies, where he served as assistant coach to the side that won the World T20 in 2012. Mark Wallace continues as captain of the County Championship and 50-over sides with Allenby restored to the T20 captaincy having been exceptionally disappointed to lose the role last year.
If Glamorgan can rediscover the formula that served them well last season in limited-overs cricket, they will be a solid bet to reach at least the last eight of the Royal London Cup and NatWest T20 Blast. There is plenty to address in four-day cricket and it would take a major improvement for them to make any impression in the Championship but it is not beyond them.
Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo