Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

Bumpy: Commonsense To Rejig Batting Line-Up To Combat Conditions

Bumpy: Commonsense To Rejig Batting Line-Up To Combat Conditions

Steve Rhodes says it made "commonsense" to rejig the Worcestershire batting order in the bowler-friendly conditions during the second innings of the 20 run success over Northamptonshire at New Road yesterday.

Director Of Cricket Rhodes revealed himself and skipper Joe Leach had intended to employ the same tactics during Northants first innings of the Specsavers County Championship fixture had they lost early wickets.

But Daryl Mitchell and Moeen Ali managed to defy the visitors attack and put together a crucial partnership in the context of a low-scoring contest.

John Hastings and Leach himself went in at number three and four respectively second time around with the aim of hitting the Northants attack out of their stride and also holding back the front-line batsmen.

Hastings actually dug in for a valuable 22 while Leach struck a rapid 16 with three boundaries before a return to the accustomed batting order.

Rhodes said: "It is something we have planned on doing before, myself and Mitchs (Daryl Mitchell) . We had Joe (Leach) and Shants (Jack Shantry) padded up for a game against Durham at Worcester.

"If the wicket is really difficult and you have got to bat first and with overhead conditions, it is very easy to get out to a forward defensive shot.

"One of the ways to combat that is to maybe try and knock a bit of line and length off the bowlers and get a few runs on the board and try to make it easier for our main batters.

"To me that is a tactic that is commonsense- and people might not think it that way.

"We were going to use it first innings, we had them all padded up, but we managed to get to twelve o'clock with one wicket down so we changed our plans.

"Second innings Joe wanted to do it straight off. I talked him out of it and said the wicket might be settling and it was obviously early on that it wasn't settling.

"Therefore Joe came to me again and I said 'if you've got a gut feeling about it, let's do it' because it is really important to let the captain have his head.

"All I said was if you are going to do it, let's do it with two batters, not one, let's do it in a full ball sort of way.

"John actually played it slightly differently to how we wanted him to play it but he felt he could get through and he nearly did.

"Joe played the role how we wanted it played. He got a bit excited when he got out but put their two scores together, and they got 38 of the 58 scored so we did have some momentum from those guys."