Kadeer Ali was delighted to see Worcestershire wicket-keeper-batter, Ben Cox, make a successful return to senior action in the four-wicket win over Herefordshire at Eastnor in a warm-up fixture for the Royal London Cup.
Cox had eased his way back into playing after taking a break for mental health reasons with a couple of half-centuries for the Seconds against Somerset and South Asian Cricket Academy.
He picked up two catches, kept tidily against Herefordshire, and then struck 27 not out in an unbroken match-winning partnership of 69 with Joe Leach.
Kadeer said: “A very useful exercise before Tuesday against Kent. Credit to Herefordshire. They made a really good game of it.
“They played well, have got some good players, and it was a good workout for the boys after switching back to white ball cricket.
“Adam (Finch) picked up four beautiful wickets, and as a bowling unit, I thought we were top class. There was a little bit in the wicket to start with, a little bit damp at the one end, and the lads hit a really good length and made it challenging for the Herefordshire batters.
“We then had a couple of really good partnerships; Ed (Barnard) and Kashif (Ali) batted nicely together and took some calculated risks.
“Then the partnership between the two senior lads, Joe (Leach) and Ben (Cox) was really superb there, some good boundary options and rotated really well.
“Great to see Ben back. He has been around with me in the Seconds for a week or so, and he has enjoyed his few days with me.
“It is great to see him back smiling and playing again, and that’s what it is all about. All the group are really pleased he is back with us.”
Worcestershire will check on the fitness of slow left armer Josh Baker and Club Captain Brett D’Oliveira, before facing Kent.
Kadeer explained: “Josh in the warm-up felt a bit of stiffness in his back, and Brett has been out for a couple of weeks with his back.
“We are hoping they will be back for Tuesday. There is training tomorrow, and we will see how they pull up for Tuesday.”
Kadeer is looking forward to again over-seeing the Royal London Cup with Assistant Coach-Bowling Coach Alan Richardson.
He said: “I really enjoyed last year and we were disappointed not to qualify after having such a good start.
“We are hoping we go at least one step further this year, and our main aim is to try and win the tournament.
“That is the attitude we are going to have, and hopefully, we rock up on Tuesday nice and fresh, raring to go.
“The squad looks a strong squad this year with the guys who are available. We look like a good unit, and it is important that we start well and we play with some freedom.
“Alan is a great guy, and I am always picking his brains, so we are looking forward to the next month.”