Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Excitement Mounts As First Natwest T20 Blast Home Game Is Only A Month Away

Excitement Mounts As First Natwest T20 Blast Home Game Is Only A Month Away

It's only a month until the first home match in the NatWest T20 Blast and the excitement is mounting as the Worcestershire Rapids look to transform their success in the LV = County Championship so far this season into the shortened format of the game.

Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes, his staff, skipper Daryl Mitchell and the players including Saeed Ajmal – the third best ranked bowler in world Twenty20 cricket – and hard hitting New Zealand batsman Colin Munro will be aiming for glory under the banner of their rebranded name.

The Rapids will do battle with Northants Steelbacks in the first home game of 2014 at New Road on Friday 30th May after the County open their campaign with a trio of away games against Durham Jets, Lancashire Lightning and Notts Outlaws.

That will be followed during June and July with home fixtures against Durham Jets, Birmingham Bears, Notts Outlaws, Yorkshire Vikings, Lancashire Lightning and Derbyshire Falcons.

Worcestershire have never reached Finals Day and what better time to break that duck than with a new name – and a new mascot in Nile the Crocodile who will be seen at the ground for all the NatWest T20 Blast matches.

Players and officials are determined to try and ensure 2014 is a season to remember for The Rapids.

Skipper Mitchell said: "We will be facing a few different sides in the NatWest T20 Blast with it reverting to North and South sections and the top four qualifying for the quarter-finals – and that is one of our targets.

"It would be nice to make Finals Day. It is certainly something missing from my CV and Worcestershire's CV.

"That is something that will be very much sought after by everyone at the Club and having Saeed Ajmal, one of the top bowlers in the world in Twenty20 cricket, can only help us in that target."

Ajmal will be looking to repeat the success he enjoyed in the competition for Worcestershire in 2011 when he picked up 16 wickets in eight games including a treble wicket maiden against Northants.

He said: "I want to help the county gain promotion in the County Championship and also bring success in the limited overs competitions.

"I played in the Twenty20 last time I was here and did well and Worcestershire were happy with me. That is why they called me again to play. I want to do well.”

Munro is expected to illuminate New Road with his powerful six hitting which has already been evident with New Zealand and he will be with Worcestershire for the entire NatWest T20 Blast campaign.

Bowling coach Matt Mason echoed the sentiments of Mitchell and Ajmal and has also given his backing to the new Rapids branding.

The former New Road paceman said: "When the idea of the Rapids was presented to all of the lads, they were really quite excited by it.

"Any change is good and I like the play on words with rapids. I think it will go down well in the county and in the city.

"There is a play on words with the well known flooding but also T20 is a fast moving game so hopefully we can play a brand of cricket that goes with the name.

"Hopefully a new name will bring about new results in T20."

Mason admitted: "I think we are one of only two counties not to have made Finals Day and that is something we definitely want to put right.

"It will be exciting with the new format, the Friday nights, and we hope to see packed houses here at New Road and hopefully we can entertain and do well."