SOMERSET head coach Jason Kerr has admitted he “can’t wait to get started” in his new role having been appointed earlier this week.

Kerr, 43, is a former Somerset player who has been involved in the coaching set up since injury forced a premature retirement in 2002.

He is to join up with Andy Hurry, who is returning to from a job with the ECB to take the director of cricket vacancy back at the county he left in 2014.

The pair replace the outgoing Matthew Maynard, whose job has been split into two roles following a cricket review orchestrated by new CEO Lee Cooper.

Looking ahead to the challenge, Kerr told the County Gazette: “I’m incredibly excited. I’ve been overwhelmed by the support since Andy and I were appointed and I can’t wait to get started.

“Andy and I had a brilliant working relationship when he was here before – he is incredibly well respected here and I don’t see it being any different despite us now being in different roles. I think it will be like he has never left.

“It’s a positive [both having been here before] as for me it’s about relationships.

“My relationship with the players is very strong - retaining that will be a challenge as my position has changed, but I want them to be exactly the same with me as they are now.

“We want a dressing room that is completely transparent and isn’t afraid to be honest with each other. It takes time for that to grow, but hopefully we will get there.”

Given his long-standing association with Somerset as a player and coach, Kerr has an appreciation of what is expected and how best to match those ambitions.

He is keen to continue embedding the principles that have served him well at the club to date, as he explained when talking about the culture he wishes to maintain.

“The beauty about this club is it is unique,” he said.

“We are incredibly well supported, and the culture has to be right throughout the organisation.

“Over the years we have built that culture through the academy and under Andy Hurry’s tenure last time we had to do what other counties weren’t doing in order to punch above our weight.

“There are simple things you can get right, whether it’s being the most athletic, the fittest, the best fielding unit, but it’s also about upskilling players and building their belief.

“Craig Overton is a fantastic example of that and fully deserves his place in the Ashes squad, but we want to be producing more international players. We have to push the boundaries.”

Understandably, having overseen Overton’s improvement as bowling coach, Kerr takes pride in the 23-year-old’s rise.

“It’s down to Craig, not myself, but what I am most proud of is the journey,” he said.

“Craig and Jamie came to us years ago in the academy and we have literally seen them go from boys to men. They have developed as people, and this is just reward for Craig as he has been fantastic for two years.

“My philosophy is about trying to produce the best players we can locally and provide opportunities for them.

“That’s not to the detriment of anyone who hasn’t come through the system, but we need youngsters ready to perform. George Bartlett, for example, has shown what a talent he’s got without quite kicking on, but he will have learned a hell of a lot from those matches he played in at the end of the season.”

The lack of an overseas replacement for Dean Elgar caused consternation among the support last season, and the new head coach admitted securing such a signing is a primary item on the new regime’s to-do list.

“Overseas recruitment is a priority, and that falls under Andy’s remit,” he said.

“It’s important that any new arrivals fit the culture and are world-class performers. That’s not easy, especially with the schedule as it is nowadays, but we will endeavour to get the best person that fits for us.

“You have to spend time looking at who they are as people too, as there is no guarantee they will perform. What they do off the field and how they contribute in the dressing room is just as important, it’s not just about statistics."

Kerr also spoke enthusiastically about captain Tom Abell, who previous director of cricket Matthew Maynard invested a great deal of faith in by appointing the batsman to the role aged just 23.

The head coach shares that confidence in Abell, however, and said: “This sounds strange, but I’m a huge fan of players going through adversity.

“The start of last season was a terrible time for Tom, but in the dressing room we have seen him grow massively and he rediscovered his form.

“His appointment was a long-term investment – Tom is an outstanding man and I have no doubt he will be a brilliant leader.”