Sunday, December 10th, 2023


Head Coach, Alan Richardson, says Worcestershire’s tactics and strategy are unlikely to alter after the change in the number of points awarded for a draw in the County Championship next season.

A drawn game in the four-day format will now be worth eight points, an increase on the five points awarded last season, following recommendations by the Cricket Advisory Group.

But Richardson, who attended the meeting where the proposal was discussed, says it will not affect the way newly promoted Worcestershire approach games in Division One.

He said: “The eight points for a draw, it feels like we consistently always have to change something, the number of rollers that can be used during a game, the bonus points, whatever, to try and find this perfect game.

“I don’t think the points system is going to make too much of a difference to that.

“I think they were hoping teams were going to play a more progressive and aggressive brand of cricket with less points on offer last season for a draw.

“What they found was that teams just prepared result wickets rather than do that.

“It constantly changes and this will be an opportunity where they will probably want teams to try and prepare flatter surfaces.

“I don’t really see an issue with it either way. It is not particularly going to change the way we go about our business to be honest.

“We tried to play positive cricket whenever there was an opportunity but, when we were behind in games, we still scrapped for draws as well because we still believe every point matters.

“Whether it is five points for a draw or eight, I can’t imagine our tactics and strategy will change a great deal.

“We want to prepare as good as wickets as we can, and we want to try and play games to win first and foremost, but see where they pan out.”

Another change being brought in will see the number of games where a Kookaburra ball is used increased from two to four in the 2024 County Championship.

Richardson said: “The Kookaburra increase in games is quite an interesting one. We obviously played two games last year, both were at home.

“We’ve got four this year, and I think three of them are away. Rob Key and Mo Bobat at the meeting had a very strong opinion on trying to play more games with Kookaburra balls.

“They felt it would certainly help guys who want to go on and play international cricket and, when playing away from home, a lot of the countries use Kookaburras.

“It makes sense for me. There were some counties who were hugely against it and want to stick with the Dukes ball. I also understand that.

“But for us it is a great opportunity for the guys to understand and play the game slightly differently.

“I do think in general playing county cricket in England gives you lots of challenges that you have to adapt to anyway.

“This will be just another one for us. There was more spin bowled in Kookaburra games last year, although their figures didn’t necessarily improve in those games, and that is something they are keen to bring in as well.

“For the quick bowlers to find different ways of taking wickets, and get the ball reversing if they can, and not just be relying on a Dukes ball that will potentially move throughout the innings, although it hasn’t done so much over the last couple of years.

“Whatever is put in front of us, we will adapt and we will try and find ways of playing really good cricket.”

Counties will also have the option of being able to use hybrid wickets in the County Championship next summer as part of a one year experiment.

Richardson said: “It will be an interesting one with the hybrid wickets. Ideally, I wouldn’t want us to have to play on them.

“But it is nice to have that option. I know a lot of the county grounds have lots of cricket played on them and they want good surfaces.

“We’ve got five hybrid wickets right in the middle of the square. For us, it would be more of a decision made on the condition of the ground at the start of the season.

“If one of the hybrid wickets is one of the better surfaces, we may end up playing on that. But it wouldn’t be for a tactical reason.

“That has been brought in more to give groundsman a bit of help in being able to prepare really good surfaces, which is not always the case with the schedule and the amount of cricket that is played at certain venues.”