Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Leach Relishing Being Back Part Of County’s First Team Plans

Leach Relishing Being Back Part Of County’s First Team Plans

All-rounder Joe Leach admits he is relishing being back in Worcestershire's LV = County Championship side – and determined to produce the consistency which he feels a lack of cost him a spot in the first place.

Leach scored his maiden Championship century against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham last July.

By Leach's own admission his form tailed off during the final weeks of 2013 and he found himself captaining the Seconds in the early weeks of this season.

But Leach says he was "determined to put pressure on" to regain his place and he worked hard to also improve his bowling skills.

Gareth Andrew's back injury meant his successful combination with Jack Shantry and Charlie Morris was temporarily curtailed and it was Leach who got the nod from Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes.

He responded with a career best 5-36 against Kent at Tunbridge Wells and has slotted into the disciplined way of bowling which has been this season's trademark in addition to making useful runs batting in the lower order.

Leach said: "When I got that 100 at Cheltenham, I proved to myself there that I could cut it at this level. Now it is just about rolling out those kind of performances more consistently.

"Consistency is what it is all about and that's probably why I lost my place in the side if I'm honest. I tailed off a bit towards the end of last year.

"I went back back into the Seconds and it was all about personal motivation to do well and get back into the team.

"Obviously I had to knock the door down with the way the boys have been performing. I was determined to try and put pressure on.

"I don't think anyone wants to play second team cricket really – and if they do, they probably shouldn't be here or be playing professional sport.

"Luckily the opportunity came. I felt sorry for Gazza (Gareth Andrew) obviously but from a personal point of view it's nice to be playing.

"Especially with the boys doing as well as they have been doing, you want to be a part of that and make sure you are playing."

In terms of his bowling having improved, Leach said: "I have worked a lot. It is more a learning process.

"Every level I've played at with my bowling I've started off slowly and had to learn and adapt and hopefully that's something I'm doing and will continue to do.

"I'm really enjoying being given the ball to bowl when it is a little bit harder. I've had that chance in the second team at the start of the season and glad now I've had the backing to do that in the first team..

"It was quite a high pressure enviroment for me to come into with the fact Gaz Andrew had been bowling out of his skin.

"To replace him, I've had to bowl well and thankfully I've done that. But with the mantra of keeping the runs down, I think that suits all three of us seamers. It suits our style of bowling so is perfect."