Jake Libby has praised the “monumental effort” and the part played by the Worcestershire CCC bowlers to ensure the third-placed County has made a solid start to their LV=Insurance County Championship Group One campaign.
The four-pronged pace attack plus spinner Brett D’Oliveira have exercised great discipline and accuracy on, with the exception of the game at Derby, mainly unhelpful pitches for bowlers.
It has enabled Worcestershire to keep their opponents under control even when posting sizeable totals and taking valuable time out of the game, which has aided their own batsmen when scrapping it out on the final day for fighting draws against Essex (twice) and Derbyshire at Derby.
Jake Libby has been on fire at the start of our red ball campaign and currently averages over 100! Check out some of his best shots from our first four matches
— Worcestershire County Cricket Club (@WorcsCCC) May 4, 2021
Next on the horizon is tomorrow’s derby at Edgbaston with leaders Warwickshire who are just two points in front of Worcestershire.
Libby, who captained the County for the first time versus Essex in place of the rested Joe Leach, said: “We’ve shown great fighting spirit at Chelmsford and Derby and then Essex at home to earn draws.
“In a couple of games, the toss has almost decided who does drive the game a little bit, and I can’t fault our bowlers’ efforts.
“On the pitches we’ve played on, they’ve bowled really well, really disciplined, and it is a credit to them as to why we have been getting into a position to save these games and get positive results.
“We are unbeaten, going well in the table, and hopefully, we can kick on from here.
“The bowlers have made the opposition bat so long to get the score they wanted through being right on the button.
“Had we leaked more runs at a quicker pace, it would have put us right on the back foot, but their efforts have given us so much more leeway and less time to bat and save the game, which has allowed us to do what we’ve done in a few games.
“It’s a credit to them, and they will get their rewards. We will get some more helpful pitches and, if they stick at what they are doing, they will get rewarded for that.”
Libby says the fight shown by the batsmen against Essex during the third and fourth days demonstrated the resilience evident in all quarters of the team.
He said: “There were definitely spells in the game when we were on the back foot, and we won those little battles and little pressure moments.
“Particularly going back to day three, we lost that little cluster of wickets just before lunch, and it was a crucial spell after, and to be only five down at the close was massive for us.
“That is a sign of how resilient we are as a team, how good we are as a team and how much it means to us.
“We showed it at Chelmsford and Derby as well, and it sums up where this team is at. We are competitive, we want to do well, we are a good team, and we know that.
“We are bang where we want to be at the moment. We are unbeaten and roll on a few positive results and a few wins, and we are flying.
Libby said the players are equipped to cope with the gruelling start to the season with nine back-to-back four-day games as he gears up for the derby.
He said: “It’s going to be a great occasion. Worcestershire versus Warwickshire is always going to be a good game.
“We got three away games on the bounce away now, and hopefully, we can get some positive results.
“The lads are ready for it, we have had a couple of days off to get refreshed and get the body and minds recovered, and we are prepared to go again.
“We knew it was going to be a tough start to the season. We knew it would be gruelling, but the lads are physically and mentally fit, and we will take it on. We are ready for it.”