Josh Baker is the second highest wicket-taker in the 2023 Metro Bank One Day Cup and his resurgence in form has impressed Worcestershire Rapids team-mate Azhar Ali.
Baker’s three wickets in Sunday’s home win over Sussex Sharks lifted his tally to 15 for the tournament, a figure only bettered by Warwickshire pace bowler Oliver Hannon-Dalby (23).
The spinner’s overall figures are 66.1-1-342-15 at an average of 22.80 and an economy rate of only 5.16 runs per over.
He has registered three-fors against Durham (3-54), Derbyshire (3-29) and the Sharks (3-35) and played a major part in the Rapids qualifying for the knockout stages.
Baker has acknowledged in the past the help he has received from Azhar, with his vast international experience, with aspects of his game such as field placings.
Azhar said: “It shows that hard work pays off. Sometimes you can be disappointed by injuries or not playing games.
“The wickets were quite seamer friendly and he couldn’t get a game. It can get you frustrated as well.
“But he approached it very nicely and he got through that period. I’ve been through that where you get through an injury and really want to get in and perform.
“Throughout the tournament, he has contributed in almost every game and again against Sussex he was exceptional.
“Almost every player who has played the game will try and help everyone out. Whatever knowledge I have, I will try and pass on so hopefully that helps him as well.
“The good thing is he has the control, especially the way he is changing the pace now, which shows he has a lot of confidence in his bowling.
When you are just bowling one pace, you know you are not sure about things but he changed the pace, slowed it down, quickened it up. He is using that to his advantage and it is great to see.”