Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

County Keeper Cox Admits He Has Thrived On Pressure Down Under

County Keeper Cox Admits He Has Thrived On Pressure Down Under

Ben Cox admits he has thrived on the pressure of being an overseas professional with Greenvale Kangaroos during a successful winter for the Worcestershire wicket-keeper in Australia.

Cox has returned to New Road ahead of the county's pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi which gets underway on March 4.

He has been a model of consistency with the bat for the Kangaroos who have struggled in the Victorian Premier Cricket Bartercard Men's Premier Firsts competition.

But Cox – and county colleague Jack Shantry – has also followed the same meticulous fitness programme as the Worcestershire players who have stayed at home as prepared by fitness and conditioning coach Ross Dewar.

He said: "With every player that goes abroad, there is that label that comes with you as 'the overseas pro' and there is automatically that pressure.

"There was a lot of pressure on us to perform every week. That personally was something I thrived on.

"Obviously you get the pressure of first class cricket but going back to amateur cricket and having to score runs is something I thrived on.

"I nailed my technical flaws with Kevin Sharp (Worcestershire batting coach) before I went out. I knew what I had to do and the first four weeks there, I got three fifties.

"To put my technical flaws to bed that quickly was very pleasing.

"Did I get much sledging? To be honest I didn't get a lot. It helped scoring runs early. I got a lot of respect which was pleasing and the hard work I put in may have earned that respect."

Cox has kept a keen eye on how the other Worcestershire players have been performing Down Under this winter.

He said: "We are team-mates and you want them to do well. I knew what everyone else was doing.

"I saw Ross (Whiteley) was scoring runs, Clarkey (Joe Clarke) was scoring runs and Joe (Leach) was doing well with bat and ball. It's just been good to see.

"I meet up with them in Melbourne for the Australian Tennis Open. We had a great time."

Dewar's programme has ensured Cox has returned to New Road up to speed with his fitness.

He said: "Any programme set by Ross Dewar is going to be tough – and beneficial.

"I wanted to come back as fit and strong as possible and the last couple of days (at New Road) shows I'm up to what they've been doing here which is pleasing.

"After Christmas, it has been two gym sessions a day. On top of that there has been running. Then on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings you've got training (with Greenvale) and games at the weekend.

"You don't come back unfit by any means. It's been good to get back and I've thoroughly enjoyed the last couple of days. It's been a fresh start."