Saturday, August 5th, 2023


Worcestershire Rapids batter Azhar Ali is targeting more glory in the Metro Bank One Day Cup as he prepares to face his former club Somerset in Sunday’s encounter at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

Azhar lifted the trophy four years ago when with Somerset and believes the current Rapids squad has the potential to make a big impression in the 2023 tournament.

The opener has played a major part in the Rapids launching their campaign in impressive style, scoring 41 in the win over Durham and 78 in the triumph over Glamorgan.

It means the Rapids have emerged as the early leaders in Group Two on net run rate from Gloucestershire who also have four points from two matches and visit New Road next Thursday (August 10).

Azhar said: “Really happy with the way we have started in the tournament and a lot of players have contributed.

“Different batters have got runs over the two games and the seamers have taken early wickets and the spinners have done a great job in the middle and later part of the innings.

“We definitely have the potential to do really well in this tournament. I’m really excited about this competition, the way our team shapes up.

“Hopefully we can actually put that potential into the field and make good decisions under pressure, which we have so far done very well.

“That will be key going forward in this tournament.”

Azhar added: “Will it be good for the squad to lift a trophy? 100%. We had a wonderful T20 tournament. We started really well, came under pressure, and then at the back end came so close to finishing second and having a home quarter-final.

“It was a great tournament, and we are also doing really well in the four-day competition especially if you see the last couple of games which were amazing for us.

“We are in a good rhythm, there is a good vibe in the dressing room, we have decent momentum.

“It would be really good if we do well and winning silverware if very important for confidence and belief.”

Azhar hopes he can recreate that winning feeling he experienced in 2019 with the Rapids.

He said: “I have fond memories of Somerset with red and white ball and especially this tournament in 2019 which we won.

“For the final (against Hampshire), I was quite ill, not feeling really well, but it was wonderful to help Somerset over the line and win a tournament after being so close over a few years.

“It was very special for the club, and also for me contributing to that winning moment for the club with our families there, and would be special if we could so something similar this year with Worcestershire.”

The Rapids will select from a 14 strong squad with Matthew Waite being rested as part of a policy to rotate members of the bowling attack during the tournament.

Azhar Ali
Brett D’Oliveira
Rob Jones
Jake Libby ©
Kashif Ali
Ben Cox
Joe Leach
Josh Baker
Dillon Pennington
Ben Gibbon
Ed Pollock
Gareth Roderick
Cameron Jones
Harry Darley