Monday, February 20th, 2023


Head Coach, Alan Richardson, says Worcestershire will have the equivalent of “a new signing” with the availability of pace bowler Josh Tongue for the 2023 season.

Tongue – and Worcestershire batter Jack Haynes – have been part of the England Lions squad during their tour of Sri Lanka.

Haynes has made several promising contributions in red and white ball cricket, while Tongue picked up eight wickets in the drawn second Test in Galle.

Richardson said: “Jack and Josh, they will have benefitted hugely from their involvement with the Lions.

“I’ve spoken to them quite a bit, and just to be in that environment is good for starters. You can see what England are doing at senior level, so there is a bit of a mind shift there, and that has continued on with the Under-19s and Lions.

“It has been fantastic to watch them be involved in as much cricket as they have been in that environment. Sri Lanka will be very different conditions for them, and they have adjusted brilliantly well.

“Jack has had some nice starts and not quite kicked on so he will be a little bit frustrated with that no doubt, but that’s the high bar he sets himself and he will have high expectations.

“For Josh to take eight wickets in the Test, was a fantastic effort, especially on those wickets which tend to be pretty flat, and the ball doesn’t have much sideways movement.

“He should take great heart from that as well. We are excited about Josh for this summer, the players certainly are.

“He didn’t play any cricket for 14 months, and it’s like having a new signing with Josh. He has come back really strong, looks as fit as I’ve ever seen him, bowling with really good pace, bowling really accurately, and it should be a really exciting time for him this season.”

Azhar Ali will return for a second season at New Road after making a big impact on and off the field in 2022.

Richardson confirmed the Pakistan batter, who retired from Test cricket in December, will be arriving in time to participate in part of the pre-season programme.

He said: “That is typically Azhar, having a total buy-in to things here, which we saw last year.

“He was fantastic on and off the field, and we hugely benefitted from that. On the field, he played some quality innings and off the field, he is such an addition to the changing room.

“He is playing club cricket in Pakistan at the moment, he is so passionate and loves the game, and he was keen to get out here and take part in our pre-season games.”