Glamorgan 2015 preview March 31, 2015

Allenby departure will test Glamorgan's resolve

Jacques Rudolph has a big role to play to ensure Glamorgan are competitive this season © Getty Images

Last season
LV= County Championship: Division Two 8th; NatWest T20 Blast: quarter-final; Royal London Cup: Group B 5th

In: James Kettleborough (Northamptonshire), Craig Meschede (Somerset, loan), Colin Ingram (South Africa, Kolpak)
Out: John Glover, Murray Goodwin, Gareth Rees (all retired), Mike Reed, Stewart Walters, Tom Lancefield (all released), Jim Allenby (Somerset)
Overseas: Jacques Rudolph

2014 in a nutshell
Almost identical to 2013 with a decent show in the one-day competitions but a mediocre return in the Championship. The season began in a blaze of glory with a 10-wicket thumping of Surrey at The Oval but the runs that Murray Goodwin and Jim Allenby provided the previous summer didn't return and they only won two further matches, despite having four bowlers take 40 wickets.

Glamorgan's T20 campaign also saw a fine victory at The Oval and they were well on course to reach a first Finals Day since 2004 against Lancashire in the quarter-final before losing three wickets in an over and falling a run short of their target. They were a point short of qualifying for the Royal London Cup knockout stage, despite winning the same number of matches as all four sides above them in the table.

2015 prospects
Jim Allenby is a huge loss to the club. He has been a consistent performer across all formats since arriving in 2009. Colin Ingram is his replacement on the wage bill but does not bowl and Allenby's steady seamers will especially be missed in one-day cricket where he was Glamorgan's most economical bowler in both competitions last season. It is therefore difficult to make a case for Glamorgan going any further in one-day cricket this year.

In the Championship, runs are the biggest concern. Only Allenby topped 900 runs last season and it is imperative Jacques Rudolph comes up with a big season to ensure Glamorgan put enough weight on the scoreboard to be competitive; much rests on Colin Ingram too. Can Craig Meschede provide the 52 Championship wickets Allenby took last season? Depth in the bowling is a concern. Spin options are young.

Power brokers
Given the identical nature of Glamorgan's previous two seasons, it could be concluded that Toby Radford made little impact in his first season as head coach. It is a difficult task with a young squad at a club saddled by large debt. But Radford does have a few experienced players to work with and this season Jacques Rudolph, the former South African international, will captain the side in all formats, relieving Mark Wallace in four-day cricket.

Key player
Michael Hogan has been one of the best overseas signing in recent years. He has led the bowling attack in some style with a stack of wickets in all formats - 98 in total last season. His efforts have sometimes propped Glamorgan up and sometimes made them a threat. With Jim Allenby's departure, Hogan is more important than ever this season but is set to miss the first round of matches with a hamstring injury that the club will desperately hope is not too serious. They could be in the market for a loan signing if the prognosis is not good.

Bright young thing
Craig Meschede, on loan to Glamorgan from Somerset, has made a promising start to his career at Taunton and, over the Severn Bridge for 2015, will hope to play a full part in the season and make progress. His brisk seamers made an impression for Somerset in 2013, with 26 first-class wickets at 28.38 and 22 at 21.72 in the 40-over competition, and should be a valuable asset for Glamorgan who have gaps to fill in their attack.

ESPNcricinfo verdict
It is very difficult to predict improvement on the last two showings given that the player central to those campaigns has now left the club. Big seasons from Rudolph and Ingram will be needed to ensure Glamorgan remain competitive but they could be fighting off a wooden spoon. The one-day competitions present their best chance of some success but they start the Royal London Cup with a two-point deduction for a poor pitch last season.

Bet365 odds
Lv= Championship Div 2: 14-1, NatWest Blast: 25-1, Royal London Cup: 33-1

Alex Winter is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo He tweets here

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