Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Leach: Rapids No Longer A “surprise Factor” To T20 Blast Rivals

Leach: Rapids No Longer A “surprise Factor” To T20 Blast Rivals

Vice-captain Joe Leach says Worcestershire Rapids recent excellent form in the NatWest T20 Blast means they are no longer a "surprise factor" to opponents.

The Rapids will launch their 2016 campaign in the competition on Friday evening against Durham Jets at New Road (5.30pm).

Skipper Daryl Mitchell's side have reached the quarter-finals for the past two seasons and played an exciting brand of cricket.

Leach believes the Rapids will have to replicate their form of previous campaigns to achieve similar feats.

He said: "I feel we've got to be careful that we don't just rest on the fact that we've got to two quarter-finals in two years.

"The first year in itself was a very good achievement and last year we did really well in that group – and it is a very tough group and we are going to have to replicate that group form to get into the quarter-finals."

The Rapids won six successive away games on their way to the last eight in 2015 and securing a first home quarter-final.

Leach said: "It was a hell of a run but we are a proper side in that format of the game.

"I've said in the past about us being considered 'little brother' and 'minnows' but our record in that format of the game speaks for itself.

"We can go anywhere and beat anyone. We beat Lancashire in their back yard, and they ended up winning it, Nottinghamshire, Durham. Yorkshire.

"Teams recognise we are a very good side in that format of the game and will continue to do so but I don't think we are a surprise factor for other teams anymore.

"They expect us to go there and compete with them so there is certainly going to be no complacency from them if that has been an issue in the past. I think that has been levelled a few times which is frustrating.

"We are going to have to go there and perform equally as well, if not better this year to win games of cricket."

Leach says Worcestershire have match-winners sprinkled throughout their side.

He said: "Look at Ross Whiteley, the cleanest striker of the ball in county cricket, and anyone who argues with me hasn't seen him bat enough.

"I think the overseas signings we've got are very good. Mitchell Santner has come off the back of a great ICC T20 so he is going to be flying high in that format, and give invaluable experience.

"Twenty20 is a game where if one person comes off in the way that Jason Roy or James Vince did in the two quarter-finals, or Ross at Yorkshire last year, it can take the game away from you and we've got match-winners now from one to eleven.

"We've also got a very well functioning team, people know their roles. They are very clear roles that have been developed over a period of time, so I'm excited."