Jack Haynes has quickly made a significant impression on Worcestershire CCC treble award winner Jake Libby who says the England Under-19 player is “one of the most talented youngsters I’ve ever seen.”
Libby had a memorable first season at New Road, finishing as the country’s leading run-scorer in the group stages of the Bob Willis Trophy and also making a big impact with the bat in the Vitality Blast.
But the former Nottinghamshire player soon identified the potential of Haynes who looked at home in all formats of the game, averaging over 40 in the Bob Willis Trophy.
After making his first-team breakthrough at the tail-end of 2019, Haynes built on that and regularly featured in all cricket.
Libby said: “I do genuinely believe he is one of the most talented youngsters I’ve seen. I’ve been part of Nottinghamshire and seen a lot of good cricketers around the country.
“Just watching him bat in the nets and in the middle, he has got a lot of time.
“You don’t want to get too carried away, and he is still very young, but I can see him going a long way.
“I don’t want to say what that would be, but he has got great potential and to have someone like that on your side, regardless of his age, he is a fantastic player and can do things which a lot of people can’t.
“I’ve batted with him in the nets, and he has so much time against the quick bowlers.
“He is an exceptional talent, and I look forward to playing with him and seeing how his career develops.”
Libby added: “You see a lot of youngsters come into the game and it is a big step up from Seconds to senior cricket. But Jack is definitely up to that level, and he could go beyond this level.
“It is going to be exciting to see how the next few years unfold for him.”
Libby is also excited about the arrival of Gloucestershire batsman Gareth Roderick on a three-year contract and says he will add further strength to the batting group.
He said: “I’ve played against Gareth a few times over the years and had a little chat with him during the game at Bristol.
“He is going to add a lot to our batting unit. I think he is a fantastic player. He has been one of Gloucestershire’s best players for several years.
“I think as a group, we are excited to welcome him, and it is only going to improve our red ball team strength going forward.”
Libby scored 498 runs in the Bob Willis Trophy, receiving his colours against Gloucestershire at Bristol and scoring a maiden century for the club during a record stand of 318 with Brett D’Oliveira against Glamorgan at New Road.
He was also the second-highest scorer for the Rapids in the Vitality Blast – behind Hamish Rutherford.
Libby said: “From a personal point of view, it probably couldn’t have gone any better for me.
“With it being such a condensed season, I had specific goals on a personal level and managed to tick those off.
“But in terms of settling into a new team, a new environment, I loved how it has gone. I really enjoy being part of Worcestershire.
“It is such a nice, relaxed environment in which to go and play your cricket, to express yourself in, and that’s what I’ve enjoyed most about it.
“Making my debut was special, and then that first hundred against Glamorgan at home was a main highlight. Raising your bat and taking your helmet off after that first hundred is always special.
“I enjoyed that partnership (318) in that game with Brett (D’Oliveira). It was great to be playing again and doing well as a team.”
“We played some great cricket in the Bob Willis Trophy and in most games we were the better team and also gave Somerset a real run for their money.
“Just playing good cricket and being competitive and playing well as a team was a real highlight for me.”
Libby was a vital part of a Worcestershire side who reaped the rewards of their focus during the winter programme on improving their red-ball cricket.
He said: “When I was in talks with the club, they said a massive push for them was the red-ball cricket. They’d had a disappointing couple of years, and that was massively on the radar for them to improve, and that was probably one of the main reasons for trying to get me in.
“For me, that was also one of my main reasons to play red-ball cricket again. That is my main forte, the one I enjoy the most and want to improve the most.
“The club worked so hard throughout the winter. There is a lot of it which doesn’t get seen, hitting loads of balls from bowling machines, facing a lot of bowling in the nets, and the success on the pitch wasn’t down to luck.
“The guys worked hard, and I do genuinely believe we’ve got a great nucleus now of young players now going forward. It is quite exciting.”