Head Coach Alex Gidman is looking for Worcestershire CCC to acquire the winning habit in LV=Insurance County Championship cricket after achieving one prime objective in becoming tougher to beat.
Gidman has seen an “improvement” in red-ball cricket at New Road, even if results have not always gone hand in hand with the upturn in performance levels.
He now is viewing the remaining four games – starting with Monday’s home encounter with Sussex – as a chance for “the continuation of that process we are in” as Worcestershire return to first-team action after a three-week break.
Gidman said: “It is a really exciting month for us as a team. Results in the table aside, our red-ball cricket is improving over the last 12 to 18 months.
“For me, it is a continuation of that process we are in. We are playing harder cricket, are harder to beat, so it is about maintaining that mentality, but also now starting to understand and trying to see how we can win more games.
“A process is underway, and has been underway for a period of time, and this provides with us another opportunity to improve our red-ball cricket.
“Four good games, four tough games and whatever division we are in, there is no easy county out there to take on.
“It’s an opportunity to compete and to continue this learning journey that the players and we are on and try and finish the season with as many points as possible.”
Gidman added: “Developing a red ball team takes time, and the players are trying extremely hard to improve, and we certainly are improving.
“In 2018, we lost ten games out of 14, in 2019 we lost seven out of 14, and since the beginning of the Bob Willis Trophy last year, we’ve played 15 red ball games and only lost four.
“We are slowly becoming harder to beat, and the next step of this journey is to try and maintain that mentality but also try to start winning a few more games and push ourselves up the table.
“We are not quite there yet. But over the last three years, there has been improvement and looking forward to continuing that hopefully.”
Gidman is delighted with the progress made by young spinner Josh Baker who last week took seven wickets for the Seconds in the win over Warwickshire.
He said: “Since Moeen Ali has been involved with England so much, we have obviously missed someone (an off spinner), and we are really excited about Josh.
“Brett (D’Oliveira) has done an amazing job as that all-rounder but, to have an out and out spinner coming through the ranks is really exciting.
“He is still very, very young, and it is very important we remain calm but also be excited about watching him bowl but without too high expectation levels.
“It is great to have that option in our squad. We and look forward to watching him evolve, not just in the near future but in the longer future as well.”
Batsman Josh Dell and paceman Josh Tongue are both unavailable through injury.
Paceman Dillon Pennington and keeper Ben Cox return after being part of The Hundred with Birmingham Phoenix and Trent Rockets.
Opener Daryl Mitchell is also back after not participating in the Royal London Cup because of PCA commitments.
Ben Cox (w)
Joe Leach ©