Wednesday, September 1st, 2021


Worcestershire CCC Club Captain Joe Leach feels he is getting back to his best with the ball after a couple of minor adjustments to his game.

Leach posed a constant threat to the Sussex batsmen during their first innings in the LV=Insurance County Championship match at New Road.

He completed his first five wicket haul for two years since his 6-79 against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham in August 2019.

The paceman regularly had the Sussex batsmen playing and missing during some probing spells as he produced the kind of form that has yielded more than 300 first class wickets.

He said: “I’ve bowled reasonably well this season without getting rewards, but also haven’t been at my absolute best.

“I think I was getting back to being really threatening in this (Sussex) innings.

“It is nice from a personal point of view to get five wickets, and hopefully I can continue that form through the rest of September and have a strong finish.

“There are a couple of things I’ve had a think about and changed, just very minor things.

“I certainly feel that wicket-taking threat is back a little bit more, challenging both edges of the bat as opposed to just once.

“There has been nothing overly technical, just going away, having a little think about things and just a couple of minor alterations.

“Hopefully I get to see the rewards of that.”

Leach will hope to have a major role with the bat on day three when he resumes on nine not out with Worcestershire 186-7 in reply to Sussex’s 264.

He said: “We threatened to put ourselves into positions over the last two days to have a strong foothold in the game going into days three and four.

“But we find ourselves at this moment having to claw our way back into it and then to try and put pressure on them in the third innings.

“It is an important first session on Wednesday morning.

“We kept losing wickets. That three or four wicket block from 140 through to where we are now has obviously taken us from a position of looking where we could get a lead to now scrambling to try and get as close to parity as we can.

“That is not to say it’s all doom and gloom. They are inexperienced, and we’ve got to put them under pressure in the third innings by bowling pretty similar to how we bowled on day one and take our chances.

“Sussex have got a lot of talent. We’ve seen that from the first two days here and the Royal London Cup game but we’ve got to try, as a group, to take out that exuberance.

“I’ve certainly been in Worcestershire sides that have lacked  experience at times and been in these situations and sides have managed to find a way to put pressure back onto us.

“For me in the morning the message is going to be about making sure that for the duration of this game we slowly shift the pressure into their dressing room and see where it takes us.”

Leach is delighted with the surface the two teams are contesting the game on.

He said: “It’s a fantastic cricket wicket. It’s got enough pace in it so as a bowler if you miss (don’t get the right line) you can get hit for four. We have seen that throughout the game.

“But if you are good enough to put the ball in the right areas for a long period of time, you will get your rewards.

“If the pitch does alter in condition a bit over the rest of the game, we want to make sure we are in a position where we are not too far out of the game.”