Saturday, May 7th, 2022


Ed Barnard praised the character of Worcestershire spinner Josh Baker on a day where England captain Ben Stokes scored a memorable century for Durham at New Road.

Spinner Baker and his team-mates found themselves up against Stokes in full flight and the all-rounder scored an LV=Insurance County Championship record of 17 sixes for an innings.

But he refused to buckle and returned to the attack to dismiss Durham’s other century-maker in David Bedingham.

Barnard said: “It is a tough learning curve. Ben Stokes was in the mood just to keep going and Josh has been brilliant for us this year and last year.

“He came through it really well. It was obviously tough, and he didn’t do too much wrong, but he kept his head up, came back later on again and got a wicket.

“He has been great in the changing room, not got too down about it all and has got a real level head on his shoulders so I’ve been really impressed by Josh.

“He is a young lad with a mature head on his shoulders. He understood he wasn’t doing too much wrong and kept trying. He didn’t throw in the towel at all.

“I was really pleased when he came back and got that wicket. It was a just reward for him.”

Barnard admitted Stokes knock was something special and for which he had plenty of respect.

He said: “it was pretty incredible stuff. Obviously not nice to be on the receiving end but sometimes you come and sit down and you’ve got to give respect to what he has done there.

“It was pretty special, some of that ball striking was pretty clean. Obviously we tried different plans but he is a world class player for a reason and he showed that today.

“It is tough but you’ve got to keep trying, different plans. We had chats at lunch and they worked quite quickly with getting those couple of wickets afterwards.

“He is a special player and it was pretty incredible to witness.”

Barnard continued his own recent fine form with the bat during a century partnership with Brett D’Oliveira.

It means he has scored a half century or more in all of Worcestershire’s pre-season and Championship matches.

He said: “I actually felt a little bit scratchy today, not in as good a rhythm but it is going well.

“I’ve been working hard on my batting. I want to score more and more runs. I’m glad I’m doing it consistently and it is just keep going on from here and not getting ahead of myself.”