Tuesday, May 23rd, 2023


Ben Cox believes Worcestershire Rapids have assembled a squad that can “push towards the back end of the tournament” as they gear up for Wednesday’s 2023 Vitality Blast opener against Northamptonshire Steelbacks at the County Ground, Northampton.

The keeper-batter, hero of the 2018 Blast title triumph with two player of the match awards on finals day, is excited by the domestic and overseas signings and the balance of the squad.

Adam Hose will be looking to repeat last summer’s performances when he finished as the third-highest scorer in the tournament before going on to enjoy a successful Big Bash League with Adelaide Strikers.

New Zealand duo Michael Bracewell and Mitch Santner will bolster the batting and spin options along with, in the short term, Pakistan leg spinner Usama Mir.

Cox said: “We’ve spoke as a group, and it looks like we are in a good place. We’ve got good signings, overseas and domestic.

“Adam, as a domestic signing, gives us power that we lost when we lost Ross Whiteley. It gives us longevity in the batting order.

“In the middle order, you may well have Adam, Michael Bracewell, myself, Mitchell Santner, and, at the top of the order, Brett (D’Oliveira) has been performing so well there for two or three seasons.

“You’ve got Polly (Ed Pollock), who can be destructive on his day and Haynesy (Jack Haynes) as well.

“We’ve got a really good line-up and squad. We’ve got a lot of different options. We’ve got bowlers with height, bowlers that are shorter, people to bowl at the death.

“We are looking like we could be a side that could push towards the back end of the tournament.”

Cox says having so many spin variations is a crucial factor for the Rapids.

He said: “We’ve got spin options with Mitchell, Michael and Brett, and the beauty of that is Mitch is so good in the powerplay that, if you’ve got another spinner behind him, you don’t waste two overs of his four which you are trying to make up in the middle because you’ve got Michael to come on.

“It gives Brett freedom to take pace off in the powerplay or even hold them back, depending on the wicket. It just gives us options, which is great.”

Hose, who scored 559 runs in the 2022 competition, echoes the sentiments of Cox.

He said: “First of all, they (Bracewell and Santner) are two great additions to the side from an overseas point of view. 

“They’ve got a lot of experience, and they are high-class international performers. I think they will be a brilliant fit for us.

“Lots of spin options and lots of batting options, and we got some good pace in Mitchell (Stanley) and Tonguey (Josh Tongue) when he is fit, so fingers crossed.”