Tuesday, May 23rd, 2023


Michael Bracewell is part of a 14-strong Worcestershire Rapids squad for the opening Vitality Blast North Group fixture against Northamptonshire Steelbacks at the County Ground, Northampton tomorrow (Wednesday).

The New Zealand all-rounder flew into England last night from India, where he has been playing in the IPL, and met his new Rapids teammates today.

Bracewell has been showing some impressive form for Royal Challengers Bangalore, but their failure to make the knockout stages means he is available for the Rapids opening match.

Worcestershire Head Coach, Alan Richardson, said: “Great for us to have Michael here. Disappointing for Michael in that he had broken into the RCB side, was doing well, and had hit a bit of form, only for them to be eliminated.  

“For us, it’s brilliant to have him. He has been in and around the squad today. He got in late last night, had a little bit of time to adjust and spend a bit of time with his family.

“Hopefully, that will put him in good stead. We always knew it would be reasonably tight for the guys playing in the IPL, but it’s excellent to have him with us.”

Pakistan leg spinner Usama Mir is also included in the squad and deputising for Mitchell Santner for the opening three games.

Club captain Brett D’Oliveira will lead the Rapids in an official capacity for the first time in Blast cricket.

He will be looking to continue the form which has seen him chosen as the Rapids T20 Player of the Year two years running.

Richardson said: “Brett is very proud to lead the club in whatever format, but this is his first time as official T20 captain, and he wants to put his stamp on the side.

“It will be exciting for him to be able to lead the guys out, and the lads should be excited about playing under his leadership.

“The opportunity came along for him to open the batting, and he has taken that on really well.

“He really enjoys that; his fielding is of the highest quality, and his leg spin is a really useful asset to the side as well.”

Worcestershire have plenty of spin and pace options in their squad.

Richardson said: “The plan is to be as balanced as possible so, whatever eventuality we come up against, we’ve got a balanced attack and making the most of whatever surfaces are put in front of us.

“It gives us a nice versatility to our attack.”

The Rapids will be looking to put last summer’s challenges in T20 cricket behind them.

Richardson said: “Last year, we struggled with the consistency of the side more than anything. We had players coming and going, and we had three different captains.

“It was really difficult to put any run of form together. The guys will be looking to do that. It is an exciting format of cricket, playing in front of full crowds at New Road.”