Worcestershire opener Jake Libby says white ball cricket has helped his entire game to evolve and he believes he is getting better as a player season by season.
Libby has enjoyed another prolific campaign in LV=Insurance County Championship cricket, scoring 1153 runs at an average of 57.65 with four hundreds and five half centuries.
But a significant change has been how his strike rate has increased year by year in the first-class game since making the move to New Road for the 2020 season.
Libby averaged 47.83 runs per 100 balls in that first season as a Worcestershire player in four-day cricket and it has gradually got higher, to 48.66 (2021), 54.08 (2022) and now 62.29 in 2023.
He said: “I’ve shown over the last three or four years that my strike rate has increased year on year, and I think that is a big result of the white ball cricket.
“It has just crept up a bit every year and white ball cricket has definitely helped my game to evolve.
“I’ve managed to have a few more shots in my repertoire, and basically just felt in really good rhythm.
“There is a lot of talk around Bazball but, for me, I just think I’ve evolved as a player and managed to find a few more shots.
“It’s one hundred per cent a mindset thing. Over the years, certainly playing around with the mindset, trying to be positive but trying to weigh up the balance between opening the batting, playing the moving Duke ball, and trying to put pressure back on the bowler.
“That’s something I’ve become accustomed to, trying to put pressure back on the bowler. That’s a big thing for me, particularly at the top of the order, and naturally that’s come with a few more runs as well.”
Thirty-year-old Libby believes he is at the peak of his powers as a batter but constantly looking to improve.
He said: “I’ve felt I’ve been batting as well as I ever have done. To be honest with you, I feel like I’m improving as a cricketer and improving as a batter and I’m hoping it will continue that way.
“Delighted with my own personal form throughout the year and I think the most rewarding thing is a lot of those runs have been winning runs, and contributed to promotion, which ultimately is what you want.
“I’m 30 now, but I’m right in my prime, and I do feel like I’m getting better every season which is one thing I pride myself on, and it’s one thing I will be looking to do again.
“I will keep making small changes and just keep improving my game, and I’m reaping the rewards on the pitch.
“A lot of the time I’m getting runs quicker and more consistently and therefore my numbers are looking a bit better, and that can only benefit the team.
Although he hit four hundreds, Libby believes his first innings knock of 69 in the low-scoring win over Leicestershire at Oakham in mid-July gave him the most satisfaction.
He said: “I think that game was the turning point of our season and certainly that Oakham match was huge.
“We were in the hunt up until then, but that win put us in a fantastic position.
“I had to have a luck on that wicket but I would agree that was probably the best innings I played in the situation, in terms of contributing to a win. It was one of my most pleasing scores.”