Wednesday, May 17th, 2023


Head Coach Alan Richardson says the Worcestershire squad can only reap the benefits of soaking up the knowledge and experience of working with club legends such as Phil Neale, Phil Newport and Gavin Haynes.

Former Worcestershire Captain Neale, who led the club to six trophies in five years, can sometimes be seen assisting during pre-match practice sessions, including this week ahead of Thursday’s home LV=Insurance County Championship encounter with Leicestershire.

Former England pace bowler Newport, currently Head of Cricket at Royal Grammar School, Worcester, finished with 1139 wickets for Worcestershire and has passed on his vast skills to the bowlers, in particular Adam Finch.

Haynes, a vital member of the side during the 1990s, has been brought in for many coaching sessions, including during the winter months.

Richardson said: “It is vital to use them. We’ve had Gavin Haynes in a lot; Phil Neale comes in when he gets the chance.

“Adam has found someone he likes talking to in Phil; and why wouldn’t you?

“We’ve got so many people in and around the area for whom Worcestershire is their club and to whom it means a lot.

“They’ve got such vast knowledge and experience and it would be foolish not to use them really.

“Hopefully, we will see a bit more of Newps when the school term finishes, and we will see where we get to.

“What we have with this young group of players is a lot of them are sponges in that they want to gather as much information and knowledge as possible, and it is then up to them to filter it.”

Worcestershire are looking for a positive response after the defeat against Glamorgan at Sophia Gardens in the final Championship game before the Vitality Blast takes centre stage.

Richardson said: “Looking for a reaction to Cardiff? It is always an interesting question, but you always want a positive performance turning into a result.

“You just want to try and put in as good a performance as you can.

“Losing at Cardiff was a tough couple of days, and the boys have had a bit of time to gather their thoughts.

“They’ve trained hard for a couple of days now, and we always have to look forward to the next game.”

Included in the squad is Jack Brooks, who has been signed on a short-term loan from Somerset.

Richardson said: “We are down to four seamers, and it gives us an opportunity with the balance to see where we want to go.

“We will see what the wicket is like, but it has been reasonably seam-friendly here at the start of the season.

“Jack has lots of experience, over 500 first class wickets, and has won a couple of County Championships. 

“He is a senior seamer who has been there and done it, a really good character, someone who is positive in how he looks at the world. 

“It will be really good to have him around. It is for this last game in this block of Championship fixtures, and then we will see where we stand from there.”

Ben Gibbon is in contention to return to the side after being rested for the game at Sophia Gardens.

The left armer played in the opening four games of the campaign and picked up 13 wickets.

Richardson said: “He has put some serious yards in and has got some really vital wickets for us. 

“I think we know what we are going to get from Ben, someone who puts in a wholehearted performance.

“The attributes he is developing with his bowling mean it is really valuable to have him in the squad.”

Jake Libby (back), Josh Tongue (side strain), Dillon Pennington (hamstring), Pat Brown (groin) and Kashif Ali (thumb) are currently side-lined with injury.

Richardson said: “With Jake, it was always going to take a bit of time. We need to just give it a bit of time to see where we stand. 

“With backs, they can be tricky. There is obviously a reason why it is spasming up, so it is going to take a bit of time to see how that goes and how that settles down.

“Josh has got a bit of a side niggle, hopefully not too long out but certainly for a period of time. Dillon Pennington is not up to speed yet with his hamstring, and neither is Pat Brown with his groin and Kashif Ali with his thumb.”