Watching Tom Moores command an audience at Nottinghamshire’s Media Day, and speak with such authority, it’s difficult to imagine how far his career has advanced in the last 12 months.
A year ago Moores was the heir-apparent to a county legend; the youngster chosen to succeed Chris Read behind the sticks.
Read will never be forgotten around Trent Bridge but he would also have been as proud as anyone when Moores scooped Nottinghamshire’s Player of the Year award last autumn.
Now 22, Moores isn’t resting on his laurels and knows he owes a lot to his predecessor.
“I’ve learnt a lot through working closely with Ready,” he says. “I feel my game is moving forward a lot, so I’ll keep learning and keep trying to get to the top. The experience of keeping for a full season and then going away in the winter has been amazing.”
“It was really good to get recognition for how my year had gone and it gives me a goal for this season; to try and top what I achieved last year.
“I knew Ready was a big loss for the club because he is such a legend in the game but I felt if I could go unnoticed, especially with the gloves, that would be all I could ask for last season,” he says.
“As a batter, I was just trying to do my own thing. Ready and myself are different players in that respect and I just went out to play my own game each time.”
‘His game’ was very often ‘see ball, hit ball’. Although he’s a prodigious striker in the shorter formats, the hard-hitting left-hander admits his best memory from last summer was a maiden championship hundred.
“That ton, at Taunton, stands out above everything,” he remarks. “To get your first one is always exciting, it gets it off your back and it was important because it got the lads back into a good position to move the game forward. That’s all I try and do, do my best for the team and hopefully put the lads in a good position.”
His other outstanding championship knock came against the odds. Battling against a crippling hamstring injury against Essex, he blasted seven sixes out of the Chelmsford ground on his way to a brutal 87, made from only 80 balls.
“That really wasn’t expected,” he laughs. “They say beware of the wounded animal, I think I just went out with a pretty clear head. I knew I couldn’t run or move that well, so I only had the one option; to try and hit it and I quite like doing that anyway. Thankfully that day I had a bit of luck and it came off.”
Moores’ phenomenal hitting and impressive glovework has already attracted many admirers and he spent much of the winter getting used to cricket’s franchise-merry-go-around, with spells in the T10 Cricket League and the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
“One of the biggest learning experiences this winter has been mixing with different international players,” he reflects. “I’ve played with some real superstars such as Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi and Andre Russell. I was lucky to have (Outlaws’ teammate) Dan Christian with me in the PSL and Evan Lewis was a great help in my T10 team.
“I’ve asked them all for advice and they’ve all been so helpful, especially from a batting point of view. I’ve learned so much from the different environments.
“Going away and playing franchise cricket has made me ride the waves a little bit on how it all works. It’s a high-pressured environment and even when I’ve missed out on selection and sat and watched, you can only learn and grow from the experience.”
At the start of the PSL Moores was asked to open the batting for his side, the Multan Sultans. “I didn’t expect it but am always ready and to open in the first game against Mohammed Amir with a packed crowd in Dubai was amazing and I learned a lot from it.”
Those experiences were punctuated by a first call-up to the England Lions ranks, something he cherished.
“That was one of my aims and it has come early. For me, to represent my country is the top. That’s what I want to do and to play international cricket for England is my ultimate goal.”
Whilst international recognition – as a player – eluded his father, Notts’ Head Coach Peter Moores, Tom is quick to point out where the plaudits should go.
“Without him I wouldn’t have got where I have and I’ve got to give him all the credit.
“All this franchise stuff is unbelievable and I hope I continue doing it but the main thing is to push my case for England. Whenever my time is, if it does come, hopefully I’ll be ready.”
His immediate aims are to start the season well and he’s excited about the brand of cricket that Notts could deliver to their supporters this campaign.
“We’ve signed well and got a really exciting squad. We’ve now got a very aggressive batting line-up and a very exciting one, especially in the white ball game, with Hales, Duckett, Clarke and Slater. I can’t wait to see it unfold and see some of the scores we could get. The lads could put some big numbers on the board,” he says.
“I quite like to think I can float around the order a little bit. I’ve batted in a few positions, even this winter, batting anywhere from one to six. As long as I can do a job for the team I’d like to think I can do the different roles that are required.
“If we get a good start I’d like to think I can carry that on, if not then I’d hope to be able to knock it around and build an innings and go hard at the end. I just want to build on last year and if I could top that I’d be over the moon.”