Saturday, June 11th, 2016

Ben Says Keeping Wicket Helps Him Produce Unorthodox Match Winning Shots

Ben Says Keeping Wicket Helps Him Produce Unorthodox Match Winning Shots

Ben Cox says being a wicket-keeper helps him execute the type of unorthodox shots which were so effective in Worcestershire Rapids dramatic three wicket win over Northamptonshire Steelbacks in the NatWest T20 Blast yesterday evening.

Cox was the Rapids hero with 42 not out off 24 balls as the Rapids won with three balls to spare to move top of the North Group.

He employed various style of shots including a reverse sweep in the final over from Muhammad Azharullah which went for a four and helped the Rapids secure the nine runs required from the final six deliveries.

Cox believes the low stance he adopts for over after over as a keeper means he feels comfortable when stooping or crouching down to play the kind of strokes that are now part of T20cricket.

He said: "I've been working hard on particular skills around the ground, all 360 degrees of it. I'm trying to be a 360 (degrees) player, hence the reverse sweeps and the reverse dinks and stuff, just to reverse pressure on the bowler.

"If you are unorthodox it can be awkward for the bowler especially when you are up against someone like Azharullah, a very good yorker bowler.

"It is the only way to score off him because he is so good at getting the yorkers in. To be honest, I'm pleased the execution drills and work I've been doing paid off.

"You've got to find ways of scoring against these guys and, for me as a keeper, you generally are quite low to the ground anyway so you find with those ramp shots, you are comfortable with the positions you get into.

"I wouldn't say it is easier or an easy thing to do but it is more natural through being a keeper."

Cox saw the Rapids over the finishing line in a finale which brought back memories of his huge six off James Faulkner when his side defeated Lancashire Lightning at Old Trafford with one ball to spare in last season's competition.

He said: "It feels pretty special. My role in T20 cricket is to be that finisher and get us over the line in tricky situations.

"It's nice to get us over a line, in a period where we lost Pepsi (Tom Kohler-Cadmore) controversially, at a crucial time really.

"It was just a nice feeling to see us home."

The Rapids have now won four of their five T20 Blast matches as they avenged last Friday's seven wicket defeat against the Steelbacks at Wantage Road.

Cox said: "We had lost the previous T20 at Northants so we lost that momentum we had going for us so it is nice to pick that back up.

"We've got a 50 over game Sunday, a 50 over on Wednesday, a T20 Friday and Saturday. It's all about keeping winning and keeping that momentum going, because obviously we had that brilliant win at Yorkshire."

The games are coming thick and fast for the Rapids players in this hectic period of white ball cricket with Sunday's Royal London One-Day Cup clash at Durham next on the horizon.

Cox said: "Especially the last week and a half has been tough. We've got a five and a half hour trip to Durham on Saturday to play on Sunday.

"Your day off effectively is spent crammed on a bus for five hours. It is not ideal but it is part of the job.

"You get on with it, you live the lifestyle, it has its perks so it's one of those things."