Assistant Coach Richard Jones has been encouraged with the progress made this summer by Worcestershire’s trio of rookie professionals in Rehaan Edavalath, Henry Cullen and Olly Cox who have all gone onto earn new contracts.
Jones has overseen their development as part of the successful Seconds team through the majority of the 2023 campaign.
It has led to opener Edavalath and keeper-batter Cullen signing two year deals until the end of the 2025 season and the attack-minded Cox for the next 12 months.
All three of them have experienced their first taste of senior cricket.
Cullen made four One Day Cup appearances in 2022, Edavalath his County Championship debut this June and Cox versus New Zealand in August’s T20 fixture.
Jones said: “They’ve had slightly different journeys but they are unique characters and people. It’s been really good to see their journey.
“The future bodes well for those three, and we are really excited to support them for the next two or three years.”
Edavalath finished as the Seconds leading run-scorer, hitting a Championship best of 169 not out versus Somerset Seconds at Taunton Vale.
He made his LV=Insurance County Championship debut against Derbyshire at New Road in June.
Jones said: “Rehaan came through, by his own admission, a period at the start of the season when it is always going to be tricky as a top order batter, when the conditions weren’t very favourable.
“He managed that period very well, although he probably didn’t think he did because he wasn’t producing the numbers he wanted.
“But the thing is he stayed remarkably consistent and level-headed and showed good emotional control.
“That is one of his strengths as a top order batter because you have to be able to handle those days when you get out in single figures. He has been really impressive.”
Cullen also made several crucial contributions with the bat as well as keeping efficiently and he had the chance behind the stumps as a substitute keeper for the injured Gareth Roderick during the final home County Championship match against Durham.
Jones said: “Very impressive, great young kid, great work ethic, very gutsy.
“He has developed a bit of a reputation within the coaching staff, but also the playing staff, as someone who, if you are up against it, he is a very good guy to have out in the middle fighting for you with the bat.
“He has not had the gloves all of the year in the Seconds, because of the size of the squad and the nature of things with Rodders (Gareth Roderick) and Coxy (Ben Cox).
“Next year, he will have the gloves everytime he is playing second team cricket, which is what he needs, but with the bat he has also surprised us, finishing also near the top of the T20 averages.
“If you looked at him, just in isolation, you’d see someone who is compact and determined but what he does do is he comes to life in competition and works out situations, is a bit of a problem solver which is important in any sport, and he has shown that over two years.
“He has contributed match-winning and eye catching performances in all formats in different situations and it is an early indication of someone who has got very high potential.”
Cox overcame a challenging start to the season to produce some excellent knocks, topped off with his fifty against the Black Caps.
Jones said: “Olly Cox, again someone who has gone on a bit of a journey throughout the year. Had his struggles at the start, similar to Rehaan in mentally adjusting to being a pro.
“But he was able to work through that with various avenues of support, but also with him being determined.
“He ended up with an average of 40 in the four-day stuff and that innings against New Zealand in the T20 at New Road, a great experience for him.”