Hamish Rutherford is “excited to be back” with Worcestershire Rapids and wanting to continue the success he has enjoyed during the past 12 months as he prepares for tomorrow’s first home Vitality Blast match of 2020 against Northamptonshire Steelbacks (1pm start).
The New Zealand batsman is part of a 13 strong squad – the same as named for yesterday’s evening opening match with Glamorgan at Cardiff which was abandoned without a ball being bowled.
Rutherford scored a century of first class and list A debut for Worcestershire and was part of the Rapids side which reached Blast finals day for the second year running last summer and came within a whisker of retaining their title.
He was then part of the Otago Volts side which reached the knockout stages of the Super Smash last winter plus the final of the Ford Trophy and also captained New Zealand A.
The 31-year-old says he still has “enough fire in the belly” to want to regain his place in the full Black Caps squad.
However Rutherford’s focus is currently on Worcestershire and had been initially set to link up with the County for the entire season before the impact of COVID-19.
He said: “It was great to experience finals day with the Rapids and then make the final. It was a good year and I’m excited to be back.
“There was initially the frustration, as I suppose with a lot of people, with sport getting put on hold around the world, but it’s great that I’ve been given the opportunity to come back over and play. I’m really fortunate to be able to do it.
“If you look at the white ball record of the club over the past few years it’s been fantastic”
Rutherford is modest about his achievements last summer as he became only the second player to score centuries on their first class and list A debut for Worcestershire.
He said: “I was lucky in the sense that I came here after only a couple of weeks off from my season back home so I was already in the zone and in good shape. It was fortunate that I was able to get off to a good start.”
His last innings was in February in the Ford Trophy final but he has been practicing hard for the past three months.
He said: “We’ve been lucky in New Zealand in terms of COVID-19 with the freedom we’ve had probably for three months so I’ve been training since May.
“I’ve certainly hit a lot of balls indoors and I’m looking forward to getting outside and playing.”
As for his international ambitions, Rutherford said: “That is definitely an aim. There are a list of potentially younger players than me. I’m 31 now, I still feel young and I’m the fittest I’ve ever been.
“There is enough fire in my belly to get back to the top level and hopefully if an opportunity comes, I can grab it with both hands.”
Ed Barnard will captain the Rapids for the first time and Jake Libby will make his Blast debut for the County.
Worcestershire Rapids Squad
Ben Cox (w)
Ed Barnard ©