Worcestershire Rapids involvement in the NatWest T20 Blast is over for another season and all the focus is now on trying to secure promtion from Division Two of the Specsavers County Championship.
Results did not go as the Rapids would have wanted although there were a couple of big scalps in Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge and Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston – both teams who qualified for the quarter-finals.
The promise of rookie pace bowlers George Scrimshaw and Pat Brown plus Josh Tongue, the top of the order batting of Joe Clarke and the accurate bowling of Mitchell Santner were plus points from the campaign.
Here Director Of Cricket Steve Rhodes looks back at the Rapids T20 performances and gives his hopes going forward in the short format of the game in a Question and Answer session with the Worcestershire CCC website.
Question: What were the ups and downs of the T20 Blast campaign?
Steve Rhodes: “The downs were seam bowling, particularly early in the competition. I think it is really important to point out there weren’t a lot of seamers who came out with a lot of credit this year in T20 cricket. All seamers found it difficult.
“The plus side of that is we found in playing Browny, Scrimshaw, and Tonguey, the extra bit of pace, was a bit of an advantage and a little bit of bounce in Tongue and Scrimshaw’s case.
“It made for a positive moving forward that those sort of guys proved they can bowl in the powerplay and anytime in T20 cricket.”
Question: You can imagine the impact they might make a couple of years down the line?
Steve Rhodes: “Not even a couple of years. They did a lot better than the other guys and that was a promising thing.”
Question: What was your view of the batting performances?
Steve Rhodes: “We were doing okay with the bat and we probably got a bit worse as the competition went on.
“In the end we were struggling ourselves to not lose wickets in the powerplay which seems ridiculous. It is only six overs.
“A couple of games towards the end, we lost too many wickets, and we also lost too many wickets from overs 10 to 16 like up at Durham.
“It is easy to say in all cricket that you can’t afford collapses and even though it’s such a short format, it’s the same in T20.
“You can’t keep losing wicket after wicket every over and sadly that’s what we did so we’ve got to put that right.
“We have got to find the right balance moving forward for next year, making sure people are in the right positions, and the positions that benefit the team.”
Question: A couple of players who did particularly well were Mitchell Santner and Joe Clarke upfront with the batting?
Steve Rhodes: “Clarkey’s batting moving to the top of the order…..we showed a lot of faith in him in giving him that spot but he paid us back in the way that he played.
“His knock against Durham (124 not out off 53 balls) was a special one but there were several key knocks along the way and he really enjoyed the opportunity to open the batting.
“I thought Mitchell Santner bowled extremely well at any stage. He bowled at some extremely difficult times, like the powerplay, and did extremely well.
“He has got quite a few tricks up his sleeve with the ball and has got the ability to bowl variations and six of them.
“That is quite handy when you are putting together a T20 over. The batsmen is not quite sure what is coming.
“He showed also some glimpses with the bat as well of how dangerous he can be. It was a shame he didn’t quite go on in a couple of games and make a bigger score and win the game.
“But Mitch is wonderful cricketer. He will learn a lot from these games as well, he is still young and developing his game and he is going to be a top, top all-rounder.
“The great thing about him is he is three dimensional as a fielder, bowler and batter and left arm spin in T20 cricket is a good option.”
Question: Without nailing anything down, is he someone you would like to welcome back?
Steve Rhodes: “He is definitely one we would throw in the hat for selection for our second overseas player (for the T20).
“Johnny (Hastings) is our first overseas player next year and we will be looking for that type of player.
“But we’ve got to sit down and just take stock.
“I’ve done a little bit of debriefing with Joe (Leach) about the T20 and we will move forward and decide what sort of second T20 overseas player we need – probably over the winter.”