Opener Ed Pollock thanked the Worcestershire coaches and players for their continued faith in his ability after admitting he doubted his own self-belief during a challenging run of form as he prepares for Monday’s LV=Insurance County Championship meeting with Derbyshire at New Road.
The left-hander smashed a superb century in the excellent victory over Middlesex in the LV=Insurance County Championship 10 days ago.
Pollock launched the campaign with a hundred against Leicestershire and 77 off 74 balls versus Sussex but said he had “gone away from the real basics of the game” during a run of low scores.
But chats with Head Coach Alex Gidman, Assistant Coach Alan Richardson, all-rounder Joe Leach and other squad members helped Pollock turn the corner, and the unwavering backing of the staff was rewarded at Merchant Taylor’s School.
Pollock said: “I got dropped for the last two T20s, and I had a chat with Alex (Gidman), and I actually went away and thought ‘I need to change a few things here because I’ve got myself in a bit of a rut.’
“I spoke to a few people I’m quite close to, and I realised I had gone away from the real basics of the game, of just watching the ball and reacting to the ball.
“Technically, I’d been hitting the ball as well as I’ve ever done in matches and in the nets. I just hadn’t quite put it altogether, so it was back to real basics.
“I was a little bit tentative against Tim Murtagh in the first innings, so I spoke with Alex, Kadeer (Ali) and Joe (Leach), and they just reminded me that when I’m at my best, I’m very positive.
“It was one of those where it had been about eight-10 weeks since I’d got a score, and it got to the stage where I said ‘I need to address this’ and got myself back to where I know I’m at my best.
“It was more just a mindset shift more than anything, and then it clicked with the situation of the game for me to go out there and play.
“Alex came up and said well batted, and congratulations, and I said ‘thanks for keeping the belief in me’ because I had started to doubt it myself.
“Even when I was doubting myself, a lot of the guys were saying ‘we truly do believe in you’, which is really nice to hear.”
Pollock added: “The season started perfectly. I trained really well over the winter, had been working on a few things and played nicely.
“There were a few good balls in there during the difficult run I had, and I started looking at the footage thinking I need to change a few things.
“Before I’d realised it, I’d started to get slightly too technical with the game without realising it’s still just bat and ball.
“I have tightened up my defence a bit and did some work with Alex, Kadeer and Kevin Sharp, but, without realising it, I’d gone away from the instinctive method which worked so well for me, and it was nice to get back to that.”
So just how highly does Pollock rate his knock against Middlesex? He said: “Probably it’s the best knock, I reckon, looking back through all the different knocks I’ve played, when you take into account the game situation we were in, the pitch was misbehaving a bit, the race for promotion we were in, being on the back of 18 innings without scoring more than 30.
“You take all those things into account, and it probably does rank right up there amongst all the best innings I’ve played.”
Pollock has had to come to terms with his first spell of Championship cricket in his career.
He said: “I had played a lot of second-team red-ball cricket at Warwickshire, but you are getting that exposure to a consistently high level (of bowlers).
“I looked at the Middlesex attack – Toby Roland-Jones (England), Umesh Yadav (India), Tim Murtagh (Ireland, 800-900 wickets), Tom Helm (England Lions).
“That is a completely new experience for me, facing that quality of opposition.
“It is the consistent exposure to that I haven’t had before, and any little pitfalls will get shown up, but I am loving the challenge and trying to get to grips with it.”
Pollock is looking for Worcestershire to build on their success when they face Derbyshire, who are also right in the hunt for a promotion spot.
He said: “We’ve had those two games where Leicestershire were nine wickets down at the end, and Glamorgan just scraped over the line against us.
“We just missed out twice, so to get that win against Middlesex was massive.
“We are right amongst it now with the match against Derbyshire coming up and the stint of four matches after the Royal London Cup.”