Tuesday, May 14th, 2024

Alan Richardson reacts to draw at Kent

Head Coach Alan Richardson praised the way the Worcestershire players coped with the minute’s applause and the return to action during the drawn Vitality County Championship encounter with Kent at Canterbury after the sad passing away of Josh Baker

The team responded with a performance to be proud of after the emotional pre-match’s applause by both teams, coaches and support staff in honour of the spinner.

Worcestershire forced Kent to follow on and were the only side with a chance of victory on a flat pitch after excellent efforts with bat, ball and in the field before the two teams shook hands with 16 overs remaining.

Richardson said: “No one knew what quite to expect and certainly the minute’s applause was really difficult for the players and the staff.

“I look back now and was pretty proud of how we handled that. For Jake (Libby) and Gareth (Roderick) to go out at 11am and bat on that first day was an incredible effort.

“I always believe the togetherness of the squad will be one of our huge strengths throughout the season.

“We needed that more than ever over those four days, but certainly at 11am on that Friday morning, and we did it brilliantly well.

“Josh will always be very close to us and we will always be thinking of him and it was fantastic his dad and mum, Paul and Lisa, were here over the weekend and for us to spend a bit of time with them as well.

“It is one of those milestones since Josh’s passing that was always going to test us.

“Training last Tuesday was one of those and playing our first game another and I was incredibly proud of the boys and how they dealt with it and went about it.”

Worcestershire scored 618-7, their highest total for 18 years, with big contributions from Gareth Roderick, Kashif Ali, Adam Hose, Jason Holder and Matthew Waite.

They then stuck to their task with the ball to bowl Kent out for 211 with the home side reaching 146-4 when the two sides shook hands.

Richardson said: “As a performance, I think it is something that the boys should be very proud of. We’ve put in an incredible shift over those four days.

“We put a base together with the bat in the first innings and then tried to apply as much pressure as we could through the following two days to take 20 wickets on a pretty docile surface.

“We gave ourselves a chance and the boys should be proud of how they’ve gone about their business over the four days.

“Batting-wise, when Gareth came off at lunch he said the surface was slow and hard to score on but also felt true.

“Trying to occupy the crease as much as possible, wear Kent down a little, and then cash in later was significant for us.

“To have Jason coming in at eight and Matthew at nine is a real bonus for us, and Nathan at ten. I thought in terms of a first innings we couldn’t have asked for much more to set ourselves up to try and force a win.

“Gareth played well, took the sting out of Kent alongside Kash, Adam gave us some impetus, supported by numerous players and Rob Jones did well too.

“Jason and Matthew with a record eighth wicket stand for Worcestershire in all cricket did brilliantly well.

“As a fielding group, the energy provided throughout on some hot days when not much happening for long periods was brilliant.

“Our ground fielding was exceptional and the bowlers set us a platform to apply a lot of pressure to Kent, enabled us to set the fields we wanted for long periods of time.

“The boys bowled so well. It was really difficult to take wickets on it and we knew we would have to be patient and we did that and set good fields throughout.

“Credit to Brett to be able to do that and for the bowlers to enable him to do that. A real team effort with the ball and we showcased a lot of skills, doing different things throughout.

“We should take a lot of heart and confidence from that.”