Monday, November 9th, 2015

Keeper Cox Working On New Routines To Help Further Improve His Skills

Keeper Cox Working On New Routines To Help Further Improve His Skills

Worcestershire keeper Ben Cox is already working on ideas for new practice routines and drills to help him improve even further on an excellent 2015 season.

Cox enjoyed an 89 per cent success rate last summer in terms of chances taken behind the stumps – a step forward from the 2014 campaign when he was above the already impressive 80 per cent mark.

Only Middlesex's John Simpson (57) finished with more first class dismissals than Cox (51) of the Division One keepers in the LV = County Championship.

Cox also finished as the County's second highest scorer in the LV = County Championship – 778 runs at an average of 37.04 – behind Tom Fell despite batting predominatly at number seven.

But there is no chance of Cox resting on his laurels after reporting back for winter training with his New Road team-mates.

In the first part of an interview with the Worcestershire CCC website, Ben assesses his performance last summer and what he can do to become an even more accomplished player.

Question: Regarding 2015, you must take a lot of pleasure from way it went?

Ben Cox: "It didn't go to plan from a team perspective obviously (with relegation) but I couldn't be happier with how it went personally.

"I know it was only by 10 runs, but to finish as second top scorer as a keeper batting at number seven, I was happy with that.

"I look at other keepers batting number six in Division One and they haven't got the weight of runs I've had so that is definitely a positive."

Question: You also had the second most dismissals of Division One keepers?

Ben Cox: "To be honest, those sort of stats don't bother me too much. They could have got 100 chances and may have only taken 50 of them whereas what myself and Bumpy (Steve Rhodes) work on is percentages (of catches taken).

"I finished the season on 89 per cent. To take nine out of 10 chances as a keeper, it was a really good season for me.

"Two years ago (2014) we just threw a number out there and said let's try and get 80% and I think I got more than that – and that was with Saeed (Ajmal) on form.

"To back it up again this year and pass it is very pleasing. It just shows my keeping hasn't got to where it can go to. I'm still on the upward curve as such.

"Like I said, the numbers (of catches) don't really matter to me. It's the percentages that sort of separate yourself from others."

Question: It is hard to remember you dropping any catches?

Ben Cox: "I dropped one. One handed off Shants (Jack Shantry) with Graham Onions batting for Durham in the Championship match at New Road. That was one that cost us big time which is why I don't forget it!

"They had a last wicket stand (Scott Borthwick and Onions) which enabled them to avoid the follow on and I dropped him when I think the score was on 90.

"It can work in your favour sometimes if it goes in clean and you get a nice spectacular one handed catch but if you get a finger on it, it goes down against you even if it is a very hard chance.

Question: Did you drop any other chances?

Ben Cox: "I think that was the only one I dropped stood back, definitely."

Question: Presumably every season, you strive to become better as a keeper?

Ben Cox: "In my meeting with Bumpy, it was literally a case of what can we do to get you better and he just said 'I don't know what you can do' so we are just bouncing ideas off each other.

"We will look at drills which aren't just your regular catching and ball work.

"It is quite challenging really which is good because it obviously means my keeping is in a good place."

Question: What sort of drills are we talking about?

Ben Cox: "For me, the hardest stumping chance is when batters 'york' themselves.

"I've thought about a batting net and you put a washing line across and you hang towels over it drooping down so you can see the end of the bowling machine but for a decent period of time you lose the ball which will go underneath the towels.

"That's what I've thought about, so you have to weigh up the information you get in that small amount of time. We will see. I haven't run that one past Bumpy yet. I don't know if he will laugh or think I'm being serious. I'm not sure."

*Tune into the Worcestershire CCC website for the next part of our interview with Ben Cox.