Worcestershire duo Josh Baker and Adam Finch are gaining invaluable experience training with some of Australia’s top players and coaches on a regular basis during their winter spell down under.
Pace bowler Finch says working twice a week on a regular basis with the West End Redbacks is hugely beneficial as part of his preparations for the 2024 season.
He is gaining valuable match fitness after his back injury by playing South Australia Cricket Association grade cricket for Sturt CC at weekends.
But in the week he is put through his paces by the Redbacks, the official name for the South Australia men’s cricket team who play in the Sheffield Shield and Marsh One Day Cup.
Jason Gillespie is the Head Coach of the Redbacks with former Worcestershire overseas player, Travis Head, captaining the side.
Finch said: “I train Tuesday and Thursdays with Redbacks and it is hugely beneficial having top class facilities and great players to test yourself against.
“There are other English lads out here so we work together discussing how we go about different parts of the game.
“It’s outdoor training and puts me in a really good spot going into the weekend with a good amount of overs under my belt to tick along nicely.
“I trained with them in the same way last winter and found it massively beneficial for coming back home to Worcestershire, having bowled a good amount outside.”
Finch, who picked up 28 County Championship wickets in seven appearances last summer, says his back problem is completely healed.
He said: “Fitness wise I am feeling in a good place and completely over the back issue.”
Baker has been going through a similar programme of training with the Sydney Thunder and Sydney Sixers.
He also got the opportunity to bowl in the nets to the Pakistan players ahead of their Test match with Australia in Sydney.
At the weekends Baker has been collecting a crop of wickets for Sturt CC in the New South Wales Premier Cricket competition.
Worcestershire Head Coach Alan Richardson said: “Adam has got Jason Gillespie there who I actually completed my Level Four coaching with.
“He will spend a little bit of quality time with him and all the good bowlers that are around that set-up.
“Josh Baker has been training with Thunder and Sixers and bowled at the Pakistan team in the lead-up to the Test match in Sydney.
“Any player who goes overseas and is in that environment, and gets an opportunity like that is only going to benefit.
“Speaking to Josh, he has learnt a lot and really enjoyed his experiences, not just pitting his wits against really good players but also watching how other people operate.
“That sort of experience can never be underestimated and it has a huge value.”
Richardson used some of his many contacts to help set up the opportunities.
He said: “I’ve put a few feelers out with people I know. Michael Klinger is heavily involved with New South Wales and sent him a message out.
“You just try and use your network as much as you can.
“Ultimately it was always up to Adam and Josh, and whoever, to take those opportunities.
“As coaches, you don’t spoon feed them. You give them the opportunity to take it and if they do, then brilliant and, if they make the most of it, that’s also fantastic.
“Adam and Josh sought me out to ask ‘how can I do this’ and we put a few wheels in motion.
“It is very typical of both of their characters that they look for work, and look for these opportunities.”