Joe Leach has lived up to being described as the “glue” of the Worcestershire CCC bowling attack by Troy Cooley who has been appointed by England as a consultant pace bowling coach for The Ashes.
Worcestershire Assistant Coach-Bowling Coach Alan Richardson revealed Cooley’s description of Leach came during the tour game with Australia at New Road in 2019.
Colley was then Australia’s Bowling Coach and quickly identified the importance of Leach to the Worcestershire attack.
It is happily a quality he has continued to demonstrate for Worcestershire and is aiming to do so for many more seasons after signing a new three year contract until the end of the 2024 season.
He was the Club’s leading wicket-taker in the 2020 Bob Willis Trophy and the 2021 LV=Insurance County Championship.
Leach’s superb performances in September meant he finished as Worcestershire’s top wicket-taker for the sixth time in a season.
Richardson said: “When we played Australia in 2019, Troy Cooley described Joe as the ‘glue’ of our attack, and Troy had never seen us play before.
“I was really lucky. I sat with him for a couple of periods in the game and straight away he identified Joe as our ‘glue’ and I think that is a really good way of putting it
“He would look at his peers and contemporaries, and Chris Rushworth (of Durham) would certainly be one of those and he will compare himself to him.
“He is such a huge part of the bowling attack and the team in general.”
Richardson says Leach, Charlie Morris and Ed Barnard may be the experienced part of the bowling unit but are still hungry to improve.
He said: “We talk about the exciting youngsters, but then we’ve got Ed Barnard, Charlie Morris and Joe Leach who are making strides and still getting better.
“Joe is 30 and played a lot of cricket now, just over 100 Championship games.
“It is a great strength and characteristic of the bowling unit that they are ambitious, they are consistently wanting to get better, chomping at the bit to move forward.
“I think they drive each other brilliantly well.
“Joe knows what his strengths are but he has continually worked on other little bits of his game as well.
“He knows certain areas he wants to work on and he wants to push forward in white ball cricket.
“If you have got your senior bowler in that group, having that drive and ambition to get better, that is only a good thing.”
Leach believes his form in September was some of the best of his career and Richardson was delighted with his performances.
He said: “It was a real testament to Joe in that he was still bowling really well and challenging batters consistently in September, at the end of a long season.
“It was such a challenge that first nine weeks of the season, mentally and physically for everyone, especially the bowlers because of the surfaces we played on for the majority of the time.
“Joe bowled exceptionally well and led from the front and did exactly what you want.
“He has incredibly high standards and expectations, and so do we with him, because he has been a consistent performer over a number of years now.
“It was great to watch him have such a big impact on those games in September. He bowled brilliantly well.
“Probably the best he bowled was at Canterbury where he barely took a wicket. But he got his rewards in other games. That is great to see.”