alex gidman is optimistic the re-signing of hamish rutherford as an overseas player for the 2020 season will help provide stability at the top of the order.
daryl mitchell had five different opening partners last summer in tom fell (four games), josh dell (four), riki wessels (two), jack haynes (one) and rutherford himself for the final three games during his second spell at New Road.
first team coach gidman was also keen on signing a quality left hander and new zealander rutherford, who is available all summer, fits the bill.
on the re-signing of rutherford, gidman said: “firstly, hamish fitted into the group really well, a laidback character but with that kind of steely mindset which is something i really liked and we all liked about him as a character.
“but it was clear that at the moment we lack some top order batsman, particularly openers which has been a real battle. i have a huge amount of respect for the lads who stuck their hands up and wanted to do it, it showed great character, but it didn’t work out for those players at the moment.
“myself and joe (leach) and alan (richardson) felt we needed to try and stabilise the top of the order as much as possible which ultimately comes in the form of experience which hamish has got.
“i particularly wanted a left hander as well, to try and have a left-right combination at the top of the order which is what we’ve got “
gidman is optimistic about what rutherford will bring to worcestershire but would not be surprised if other batsman also flourished after last summer’s challenges.
he said: “cricket is such a strange sport and i wouldn’t be surprised if we had three or four guys knocking on the door of 1,000 runs next year.
“i believe in our young batsmen so much, they just had a tough time but i have every faith in them to all have really successful years in 2020. the whole group was very open and honest about the struggles last year and they are very excited about working hard this winter to put that right.
“we’ve all seen individuals and teams experience different highs and lows over and over again and it won’t be the last time they have struggles either. that is the nature of the game.
“trying to combat those challenges in the game is what keeps the players wanting to play it and wanting to be involved in it”
gidman also thinks it is beneficial for rutherford to be available all summer subject naturally to any international calls by the black caps.
he said: “i believe it helps with continuity. particularly when you get a batsman as the overseas player, it’s really good to get them for the whole year.
“if you go down the bowling route these days, it is very hard to get someone for the whole year and that can be harder to manage.
“but, at the moment, where we feel we need some more support and competition is our batting which is why we’ve gone for an overseas batter.
“it will be great to have him around for the whole year unless he does really well and gets picked by new zealand which is what he wants to do.
“if he does that, it means he will have scored a lot of runs for us which will be a good thing.
“you want your overseas to do well for you but also help everyone else, enjoy their time with us and ultimately play good cricket and enjoy being part of our group for that period of time.”