Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

County Coach Mason Stresses Importance Of Bowling Sides Out

County Coach Mason Stresses Importance Of Bowling Sides Out

Assistant coach Matt Mason stressed the importance of Worcestershire recapturing the knack of being able to bowl sides out in the Specsavers County Championship next summer.

The County had a proud record of collecting maximum bowling points in virtually every Championship fixture from early 2013 until the end of the 2015 campaign.

But last summer they found it a challenge to repeat those splendid feats and only Northamptonshire and Derbyshire accrued less than their 35 bowling bonus points.

Jack Shantry and Charlie Morris, who was remodelling his action, were unable to match their superb wicket-taking exploits of the previous two campaigns with Joe Leach (65) and developing Ed Barnard (31) the leading wicket-takers in addition to Matt Henry's 27 in six games.

The County – like many sides – also had to come to terms with the new 'toss' rule which led to flatter pitches being produced and the regulation will again be in force next season.

Mason, who is also bowling coach, said: "Is there a need to get 20 wickets in Championship cricket? Without doubt, that is what cost us last year. If you look at the start of the season, we posted scores of 400 plus regularly.

"What we couldn't do was bowl sides out and that is something we looked at over the winter.

"Bringing in John Hastings in was part of that because we need a sort of 'striker' and then there will be challenge for the lads who didn't have such great seasons last year, the likes of Charlie Morris and Jack Shantry, to step up.

"Ed Barnard's continued development will hopefully mean he will be more of a wicket-taking force and then Leachy, our talisman, will have a big, big year and, with the captaincy as well, it is going to be a big year for Joe.

"We all recognise where we went wrong last year and it is about putting that right I guess and working hard over the winter."

Mason added: "I do think there are elements of conditions as well to take into account. There is no doubt pitches and the toss rule impacted last year.

"Those sort of bowlers who aren't six feet, five inches plus and bowling at 85 miles per hour found life a bit more difficult.

"The challenge has been making sure the guys have the necessary skills to be more effective on these flatter pitches because the toss rule is again here next year.

"That is the challenge and the guys know exactly what they need to do and hopefully they will come back better equipped to deal with it."