Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Leach: Promotion Main Focus Rather Than Personal Milestones

Worcestershire skipper Joe Leach has shrugged off any personal satisfaction he may have derived from again reaching 50 Specsavers County Championship wickets and said all the focus is on trying to clinch promotion.

Leach has claimed a half century of wickets three years running and again is the County’s leading wicket-taker in the Championship.

But his thoughts are firmly on trying to seal a return to Division One ahead of today’s (Tuesday’s) top two clash with leaders Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

Leach said: Obviously I’m very proud (to get to 50 wickets) but we are all focused on just gettng promoted now and, however which way we do that for Worcestershire, that’s all I’m really bothered about.

“It is a nice personal accolade for myself and probably something I will look back on at the end of the season.

“I want to kick on now. We’ve got three games left and I want to make sure that tally is however high it needs to be for us to get promoted.

“Notts is a big game and it’s a very big spectacle. There are some very good cricketers on show. You’ve got what is a confident Worcestershire side now which does make a difference.

“We are a group who do go on rolls so hopefully this is the start of one and they will be in for a tough fight against us because we go there full of confidence knowing it doesn’t matter what pitch they play on, we’ve got bases covered and we will put on a good show.”

Worcestershire have already won six Championship matches – as many as in the whole of 2016.

Leach said: “We got off to a flier which helped and we’ve got three more games and we probably need to win all three, or certainly two.

“What’s gone doesn’t really matter. When it gets to September and the white ball competitions are out of the way for us, we are focused on the Championship.

“In this day and age, we are very much aware of what other teams are doing but if we win our remaining games, I have no doubt that we will be promoted.

“We will be very unlucky if we don’t. We have to focus on ourselves and we have to do the job ourselves.

“If we don’t do that, then we’ve only got ourselves to blame.”

Leach added: “The break we had before the Gloucestershire game refreshed the group, as much mentally as well as physically. There has been a different atmosphere around the group.

“The belief seems to have come back so very excited about what the rest of the season has in store.”

Ravichandran Ashwin picked up eight wickets against Gloucestershire and has shown already his skills as a match-winner.

Leach said: “There is a belief there that he can win a game single-handedly but what pleased me the most is he didn’t win the Gloucestershire game single-handedly.

“He went a long way to winning the game and it would be wrong to say he didn’t perform outstandingly.

“But Barny (Ed Barnard) bowled fantastically well the first day, knocked the top off their first innings.

“Dolly (Brett D’Oliveira) played magnificently well in both innings with the bat, George Rhodes bowled very well first innings and chipped in with a key partnership in the second innings.

“Tom Fell looked like he was getting back to his best in that first innings. From one to eleven everyone can take something away from that game.

“We’ve got three more, includng a visit to Trent Bridge, which we are looking forward to.”