SOMERSET’S bowling coach Jason Kerr says the rapid rise of Craig Overton and Lewis Gregory “hasn’t surprised” him.

The pair, who both graduated through the Somerset Academy, have quickly become integral parts of a Somerset side that has made huge strides from the disappointment of last season. 

Overton has been rewarded for some impressive form with a call-up to the England Lions squad for the one-day tri-series against New Zealand A and Sri Lanka A, while Gregory has won a number of admirers with some eye-catching displays in all three forms of the game.

Overton could feature in the Lions opening match of the series today (Wednesday) in front of a home crowd at Taunton – a huge achievement for a player who missed most of last season through injury.

But with a combination of hard work and bags of natural ability, Kerr says the 20-year-old's progress was to be expected.

He said: “It hasn’t surprised me, certainly with Lewis and Craig they’ve both had attributes that you’re excited about and you want to see progress and they’ve both had setbacks, mainly injuries and I think from Craig’s point of view it’s what we expected really.

“He missed a year but the signs the year before that were really encouraging and he’s pretty much taken up where he left off - what he does naturally is very impressive and he’s certainly suited to a first class environment.

“Similarly with Lewis, he’s had a few setbacks with injuries and he’s still very much a batting all-rounder, but the work he did through the winter has certainly come to fruition throughout the summer.”

BELOW: Both Overton and Gregory boast impressive season stats, especially in first class cricket

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Asked whether Gregory was unlucky to be overlooked by the England Lions, Kerr said the former England under 19 captain may need more time in county cricket before making the step-up – but backed him to earn higher honours in the near future.

He said: “Yes and no - he’s obviously done really well, but he’s only played seven championship games and his numbers are great, but for me he needs more time under his belt to keep performing and keep playing and concentrate on what he’s doing here day in, day out - and the rest will take care of itself, but I’m sure he’d have been on their radar.”