Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Bumpy Is Happy With Outcome Of County’s 10-Day Tour

Bumpy Is Happy With Outcome Of County’s 10-Day Tour

Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes has hailed Worcestershire's 10 day trip to Abu Dhabi a success as part of the build-up to the start of the 2015 campaign.

Rhodes was delighted with the practice facilities and the form shown by many of the county's players in four matches across T20, 50 over and two-day formats against a UAE X1, Derbyshire and Middlesex.

Plenty of batsmen including Richard Oliver, Daryl Mitchell, Ross Whiteley, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Alex Gidman and Tom Fell all produced significant knocks in excess of the 50 mark.

There were also encouraging signs from the England Under-19 duo, all-rounder Ed Barnard and wicket-keeper batsman Joe Clarke, while on the bowling front Gareth Andrew made a promising return after the healing of his fractured lumbar pedicle.

Rhodes said: "To be honest it was great. We were the first county to get there and that meant the middle wickets and the practice facilities were very good and how we wanted them to be.

"We gave everyone a go. There were plenty of opportunities and I was very pleasantly surprised at some of our young lads and the way they had matured over the winter, physically and mentally and form-wise.

"Their cricket looks in a good place. We've got two England Under-19 lads in Joe Clarke and Ed Barnard and they certainly looked the part.

"The good thing about that is it just gives us that little bit more depth of quality and more competition for places.

"Richard (Oliver) and Mitch (Daryl Mitchell) both looked fantastic and hence the reason we didn't play them in that last game (versus Middlesex).

"The way they were playing, it meant we could give other people chances. Most people had a good go and contributed throughout the trip to Abu Dhabi.

"We also had one day where we played two 10 over games between ourselves which was also excellent."

Fell was given an opportunity to open in the final two games against Derbyshire (two-day) and then Middlesex (50 over) when Oliver and Mitchell were rested.

Rhodes said: "It is something that could be an option for us. He is a very competent batsman for us.

"When he bats three sometimes, you are batting within two balls anyway. As a number three, you need to practice against the new ball and that was one of the reasons we gave him a go opening."

Newcomer Gidman also showed his class with a half century in the two day game against Derbyshire.

Rhodes said: "He played really well. He is an old head and the type of player who fits into our way of doing things.

"Like all the guys, we try to be as professional as we can be and he is certainly a professional."

Andrew was having his first bowl in a match situation since the LV = County Championship clash with Glamorgan at the Swalec Stadium last May.

Rhodes said: "It was Gazza's first bowl in a match for a long time and he came through really well.

"The second day of the two-day game versus Derbyshire, he charged into a pretty strong wind and bowled beautifully.

"We are happy with the way his progress is, we've got him out there playing, and he will play some of the pre-season games and hopefully we get him in a good place for the season."