Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Bumpy: Important To Put In Good Performance Without Saeed

Bumpy: Important To Put In Good Performance Without Saeed

Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes stressed the importance of Worcestershire putting in a good performance without the presence of spin wizard Saeed Ajmal as they overpowered Gloucestershire by eight wickets at Cheltenham.

Worcestershire made a mockery of critics branding them a one-man team reliant on the skills of Ajmal who picked up 63 wickets in nine LV = County Championship matches.

The Pakistan star has now left the county but it was still business as usual for Worcestershire who dominated for long periods at the College Ground after enforcing the follow on.

They are now 43 points clear at the top of Division Two and with a game in hand on nearest challengers Surrey who were beaten today by Kent.

Rhodes said: "I'm absolutey delighted and it was very important to put in a good performance in the absence of Saeed Ajmal.

"A lot of people have talked about us being a one-man team and Saeed has been brilliant.

"But we are far from it. There are a lot of guys who have contributed to this game and throughout the season.

"To get seven wins out of 12 is a really good effort and I'm delighted for the boys because they had to do it the hard way.

"They worked really hard on a really good cricket pitch I felt and they were out there for a long time, making Gloucestershire follow on and then that last wicket stand (of 137 between Liam Norwell and Craig Miles).

"They had to work hard so I'm delighted."

Regarding the last wicket stand by Norwell and Miles, Rhodes said: "We were shattered and I couldn't fault the lads for their efforts and I thought they tried so hard but they were as frustrated as we were on the side-lines.

"Credit to the two Gloucestershire batsmen, I thought they played extremely well, and they had some hostile bowling to deal with and they got under the ball very well.

"So it was very frustrating. I was walking around the ground explaining to people that the coaches are to blame for these last wicket stands!

"The bowlers who generally couldn't bat in the past, they can all hold a bat now so it is certainly a different ball game now when you come down to tail-enders. They can all bat."

Rhodes was happy with the debut Championship performance of New Zealand paceman Mitchell McCleneghan who was hostile in his first four-day appearance since last December.

The county chief said: "I'm delighted with him. That's his first bowl in a competitive first class match for a long time.

"I thought his effort levels were second to none, as all our bowlers were."