Friday, September 19th, 2014

Bumpy: County Require Same Resolve And Resilience For “really Hard Year” In Division One

Bumpy: County Require Same Resolve And Resilience For “really Hard Year” In Division One

Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes says Worcestershire will need all the resolve and resilience evident this season to help them cope with the demands of LV = County Championship Division One cricket in 2015.

Worcestershire made sure of top flight cricket after a two year absence via last week's dramatic win over Surrey at New Road.

Rhodes is under no illusions to the challenges ahead and believes the gap is now bigger than ever before between the two divisions.

He said: "We were tipped to finish bottom so to achieve what we have achieved and surprise a lot of people is testament to many things – but ultimately trying to squeeze every little bit out of every player and to their credit they have been magnificent.

"They have done everything you've asked of them. We've cranked up some of the practice sessions, asked them to dig deep in certain games and I am delighted for their efforts.

"At some stage or other, most players on the staff have had an involvement and it would probably be wrong to single out anyone because there has been a lot of collective hard work gone into trying to win games but also preparation.

"I'm really delighted and excited about the challenge ahead. I will say one thing though. It is going to be a really hard year.

"We will need all the resolve and resilience we have shown this year to do what we'd like to do and that is to maintain Division One status next year and then build on that in the years to come.

"Ultimately if you look at Northants and Lancashire, who went up and have struggled this year, it is potentially going to be a hard grind.

"But the one thing about the squad is they don't mind hard work so I'm hoping that is something that is going to help us out.

"We've been practicing hard in the winters and summers for a number of years and that is starting to bear some fruit now."

Rhodes added: "If you look at the bowling attacks in Division One, they've got more depth. You run, for example, through Nottinghamshire's depth of bowling – and they've signed Will Gidman as well – and it is quite extreme. Quality bowlers are going to be on the side-lines.

"They keep coming at you. I'll give you an example. At Derby, before it started to turn, Mark Footitt was a real danger and of his type there will be two, three or four per county.

"We've got to make sure we are ready for that, carry on what we've been doing this year but improving it even more.

"What we've tried to work on this year is good disciplines and if we do that again, hopefully that will hold us in good stead but it won't be easy.

"We will come up against sides with a lot more international experience than us so we've got to stick together and work hard together.

"The team spirit will be tested. It is important. It is the 12th man – but it is not one of the eleven.

"We've got to produce the goods and when things go wrong, which they are bound to do at stages, then it will be tested, will that team spirit."