Olympic advice keeps Will going
Richard Latham finds out how a psychologist is helping Will Tavare
Gloucestershire batsman Will Tavare gives much of the credit for his return to form this season to an Olympic athlete and an ex-England rugby player.
The athlete is British 400 metre runner Emily Diamond. It was at her suggestion that Tavare began to visit Paul Hull, the former Bristol and England full-back, for sessions in psychology.
Last season the 27-year-old Bristolian was badly hit by injury and bereavement as he managed only 112 first class runs in ten innings, an average of just 11.2.
But it has been a different story this summer. A half-century in each innings against Durham followed two first class hundreds against Durham MCCU and Leicestershire and left Tavare with a more than healthy average of 57.5.
He said: “Last summer was very tough for me. I hurt my knee in a pre-season game with Oxford MCCU and it took a long time to get it anywhere near right.
“I had never been injured to that extent before and a close family friend passed away so there was a lot kicking off over the same period.
“After all that it was good to have a winter away from playing matches and, while I haven’t altered much technically, I have done a lot of psychology, which seems to have worked really well.
“A friend of mine, Emily Diamond, mentioned Paul Hull had helped her, so I decided to contact him.
“Paul is a teacher at Prior Park College in Bath, but he also does some psychology. I go to him for sessions of around an hour with the object of clearing my head and helping me be stronger mentally. I didn’t think the bereavement last year affected me as much as it clearly did.”
Tavare hit 1,014 first class runs in 2014, his first season with Gloucestershire after moving up from local club cricket.
Nephew of former Kent and England batsman Chris Tavare, he averaged 39 that summer and 32 the following year before suffering the knee injury while fielding that made the 2016 campaign something of a write-off.
Sidelined for the first two months of the 2016 campaign, he returned for six of the last seven Championship games without ever finding his best form.
“The knee still gets swollen now,” he said. “But our fitness staff have done a great job and I am told it will settle down with time. I believe what happened last season will make me stronger. I have always been determined to score runs and that is certainly the case now.”
Overcoming: Will Tavare has battled back from injury and bereavement to star for Gloucestershire while Graham Onions, inset, picked up five wickets in the match