Saturday, August 7th, 2021


Joe Leach believes the development of youngsters like Josh Baker and Jacques Banton will only have been enhanced by being bloodied by Worcestershire Rapids in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Spinner Baker and all-rounder Banton have made their mark at various stages of the 50 over tournament.

Baker has made some impressive contributions with the ball and the bat on more than one occasion since his elevation into the senior squad.

Banton seized his chance with 33 and 3-15 against Sussex Sharks at New Road on Friday in his second appearance in the Royal London Cup.

They are likely to have more opportunities as the group stages reach a climax against Lancashire Lightning and Durham.

Club Captain Leach said: “I’m not going to stand here and say this (competition) is all about developing players for us.

“We want to win, but obviously, there is an element of development that is taking place.

“We’ve put guys in situations that they certainly haven’t been used to, Josh Dell, for example, batting at number seven in white-ball cricket.

“We’ve thrown Josh Baker in, and he’s had a steep rise from the second team, and Jacques, against Sussex and in the first game, has been thrown in at the deep end.

“It’s really good for these guys to get experience in front of the crowds we’ve had.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the crowds we’ve had. It’s been really nice, so it’s good for these guys to get exposure in close games of cricket, and it will stand all of us and the club in good stead moving forward.

“It’s all good experience; it all helps. It was a tight loss on Friday, but, certainly, for the younger lads, it’s an opportunity to learn, think about how we could have eked out another 20 or 30 runs in the first innings, and then saved another 20 or 30 with the ball.

“Hopefully, in due time, that will happen.”

Reflecting on the game against Sussex, Leach said: “It is probably a closer game than it should have been, to be honest.

“We didn’t score enough runs again. We bowled okay, not at our best, to be honest, and then there were a couple of soft wickets (given away by Sussex), and for the last 15-20 overs, I thought we were exceptional.

“It is another game of ifs and maybes, unfortunately. We were open-minded about what target we needed to set. We knew it had been a good pitch for the other two games on it and also recognised 300 probably wasn’t going to be an average score, as it had dried out a little bit.

“We expected it to take a little bit of spin, but unfortunately, we didn’t cope with it well enough in that period after Jack (Haynes) got out.

“We went from 70-1 to 89-5, and in these games of cricket, you can’t do that.

“We recovered well, and the young lads again have played really well, and Jacques Banton, coming back into the side, was exceptional with bat and ball.

“Josh (Baker), Charlie (Morris) and Adam (Finch) at the end got us up to a score we felt could have been defendable had we bowled and fielded really well.

“I think we bowled and fielded well – but I don’t think we bowled and fielded really well.

“I think we would have liked wickets earlier. They (Ali Orr and Tom Haines) both absorbed the pressure and when they counter-punched, they were good enough to do it and not give a chance.

“It’s a good lesson for us. Big scores in this format make the difference, and we haven’t had that for the last couple of games, and that has kind of told really.”