Alex Gidman praised another example of the “good resilience and mental skills” evident in the Worcestershire side as they secured a draw in the LV=Insurance County Championship with Derbyshire at the Incora County Ground.
Jake Libby’s unbeaten century and a third successive fifty-plus score from Azhar Ali enabled Worcestershire to close on 225-2 after losing only one wicket during the final day.
They had performed a similar feat against Durham at New Road last weekend when a Jack Haynes hundred and another fine knock from Azhar had defied Durham.
Head Coach Gidman said: “Another tough four days? Both teams tried their best to force their way into positions to win the game.
“Derbyshire out-pipped us on that one going into day four today, but, once again, we showed some really good resilience and mental skills as much as anything to deny them and batted really well to draw the game.
“We knew at the beginning of the day that we weren’t going to be able to win the game, so if you can’t win, the next thing to make sure you do is draw, and that takes a lot of commitment, dedication to the task.
“That is not just for the first hour or two, but to see it all the way through.
“We’ve all seen the game can do many silly and weird and wonderful things, and you never know what is quite around the corner.
“Being ruthless when you are trying to save the game is just as important as when you are trying to set up the game.”
The pitch was a challenge for the bowlers on both sides, with only 20 wickets falling during the four days.
Gidman said: “Was the pitch a bit too good? Everyone is trying to make really good cricket wickets; we’ve had no rain whatsoever, so there is very little moisture around, and the sun was out, and it made it really, really hard for the bowlers.
“We’ve had a wicket last week (at New Road) which was hard to force a result on against Durham, so every club and every groundsman is trying their absolute best to create good cricket wickets.
“You can’t win, can you? If games are ending in two and a half days, everyone is saying ‘we want longer games’, and if games are being drawn, everyone is saying they want shorter games.
“As players and coaches, you play with what is in front of you and, without a shadow of a doubt, we will learn a huge amount from this game and the last game and keep moving forward.”
Gidman praised the contribution of young duo, spinner Josh Baker and left armer Ben Gibbon, in the batter-friendly conditions.
He said: “For two young bowlers, in terms of experience, they’ve had some tough challenges in the last couple of weeks, with Durham in general last week and not just the Ben Stokes situation.
“Some of these Derbyshire batters are high quality as well in batter friendly conditions, so it’s pretty tough going for them, but I think they’ve again shown great resilience and great accuracy for the great part and done themselves very proud.
“We’ve said all along we’ve no concern about Josh’s character whatsoever. He is a very hungry young cricketer, desperate to learn, desperate to improve.
“He’s got all the attributes you would hope for in a young spinner, a young player, and the same with Ben Gibbon.
“Tough left-arm bowler, tough character, no fuss character and in these sort of conditions and circumstances, they are really good attributes to have.
“He just turns around at the end of his mark, runs in and just tries to bowl the same ball again, which is credit to him.
“Both of them look like they are going to be really good competitors for us in the coming years.”
Gidman confirmed that all-rounder Joe Leach was ruled out of the Derbyshire match with a sore back.
He said: “Joe has got a very sore back and has been for scans over the weekend of which we haven’t had the results yet.”
Gidman believes the current conditions are to blame for bowlers in general around the country picking up injuries.
He said: “Most rounds of matches, if you look at the scorecards, one team has got a bowler who had not been able to complete an over, meaning they have walked off injured, which is tough.
“A lot of that comes down to the conditions, a lack of rain, very few breaks happening, but this is why they work extremely hard in the gyms these days. In the winters, we try and condition them as best as we can, but unfortunately, some of them will break down.
“We saw with Joe before the game that the last couple of weeks have taken its toll on him physically, so there are probably going to be a few more to come over the next few weeks (in general).”