Friday, June 27th, 2014

Death Bowler Russell’s Ability To Cope With Pressure Impresses Mason

Death Bowler Russell’s Ability To Cope With Pressure Impresses Mason

Worcestershire bowling coach Matt Mason has praised the ability of leading NatWest T20 Blast wicket-taker Chris Russell to cope with the pressures of bowling at the death in the short form of the game.

Russell has picked up 16 wickets in his six T20 Blast appearances this season after becoming part of the Rapids side following the opening two games with Durham Jets and Lancashire Lightning.

He has been unfazed if being on the receiving of the occasional big hit which is part and parcel of the competition and had the knack of picking up wickets.

Russell again showed he is capable of holding his nerve last week in the win over Birmingham Bears when Jeetan Patel struck the first delivery he faced for six – only to be bowled off the next by the seamer.

Mason, who is also the county's assistant coach, said: "That is something Chris has worked pretty hard on.

"In the past he's sometimes dropped his head quite quickly when things haven't gone well.

"With some great work done by himself and our support psychologist Dave Young, he's got some great routines that he can call upon now in times of pressure.

"It has helped him to stay calm and make some crucial decisions at the end of an innings. He's been great at it.

"He worked a lot on his white ball skills during the winter."

Independent performance psychologist Young has also worked for the ECB, Middlesex, England squash and the Team GB shooting team.

Russell said: "Luckily for me the ball is coming out well at the moment and they keeping hitting it in the air and it keeps going to hand at the moment.

"What works for me maybe doesn't work for someone else but I have stuck with what I know and what I do quite well and it's paying off at the moment.

"But it is an all-round performance, Jack (Shantry) got three for nothing last week and with Saeed (Ajmal), it is the same every week. "You can't score a run off him and it gives us a chance and they have to try and take us on. We are going well as a unit."

Russell added: "Momentum is a massive thing in this competition. We've managed to get on the crest of a wave at the moment.

"We turned over Northants, the champions, in 13 overs, we turned over Birmingham in 14 overs. But the feet are on the ground.

"There are still six games to play in this, that's 12 points up for grabs. We've given ourselves a chance by winning six on the bounce but we need to keep winning and picking up points."