Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022


Dillon Pennington is targeting an England Lions call-up, but working on areas of his game and technique in red ball and white ball cricket this winter with Worcestershire and when playing grade cricket for Adelaide CC are his immediate priorities.

The pace bowler was pleased with his form in the LV=Insurance County Championship, where he finished as Worcestershire’s leading wicket-taker with 44 scalps.

Pennington was a consistent performer and was delighted he could back up his initial spells later in the day by bowling at a similar pace.

He earned high praise from Worcestershire overseas signing Azhar Ali, who said he was ready to become the leader of the attack.

The 23-year-old was encouraged by Worcestershire’s performances in the Championship and looking to build on the form shown in September when the new season gets underway.

Worcestershire defeated Division Two champions Nottinghamshire in that period and were denied the chance to push for victory in two other games because of rain.

Pennington will be working further on his running technique this winter to help his run-up become smoother and, in the process, aid his bowling action and allow him to bowl longer spells and more overs.

After analysing how he fared in that game format last summer, he is also conscious of the need to refine his white-ball skills.

Here, Pennington looks back over last season and his targets for himself and Worcestershire in a Question and Answer Session.

Q: It must have been pleasing to finish as Worcestershire’s leading wicket-taker and seventh-highest in Division Two?

Dillon Pennington: “It was a good season. You set yourself goals at the start of the season of what you want to achieve, and I got in and around that, so it was a really pleasing season.”

Q: Was the big difference consistency because you bowled more overs and played more matches than ever before?

Dillon Pennington: “I worked a lot on consistency. My aim throughout the winter and going into the summer was how I could back up spells throughout the day and throughout the game and try and keep my pace consistent.

“Towards the end of the season, I felt that was happening, and I was coming back and bowling spells that were similar to my spell previously, and I felt my pace was more consistent throughout the game.”

Q: You bowled 322 overs, a lot more than in a season before, a testament to how fit you were?

Dillon Pennington: “We work a lot on fitness, and I’d done some stuff to do with running technique, and it’s slowly starting to help me be more efficient in my running and run-up, and it’s helped me throughout the day and the game.

“It’s something I will be working on this winter. I think I’ve got a fairly unique running style which doesn’t really help me in the long format. 

“I’m trying to sort that out so my run-up might be a bit more smooth, help my bowling action and enable me to be able to bowl longer spells and bowl more overs in the day.

“I’ve got some good stuff I want to work on over the winter with Alan Richardson and when I go to Adelaide. I’ve started doing a few little things, and I want to take that onto Adelaide and come back with those in my bowling action and 


Q: Azhar Ali said you are ready to become the leader of the attack. A really good compliment?

Dillon Pennington: “That is a very kind thing for him to say. That is obviously everyone’s aim, and it will be nice next season when Josh (Tongue) is back fully fit to get a tandem going with him and, hopefully, we can add that dimension to the attack.”

Q: Do you feel in a good place, five seasons since making your debut, with where your career is progressing?

Dillon Pennington: “I feel really at home now at Worcestershire. I feel confident playing there, I get on well with the members, and it is an excellent place to play. It fills me with confidence walking out onto the pitch.

“I had a bit of a blip this summer with my white ball stuff. I feel like I’m progressing, but I’ve got a lot of work to do in my white ball cricket and a lot of stuff I want to work on this winter in my red ball stuff.

“Hopefully, it will stand me in good stead for next year and hopefully build on what success there was this year.”

Q: What white ball areas will you be focusing on?

Dillon Pennington: “At the end of the day, I just wasn’t good enough this year, but sometimes you’ve got to have that blip to give you the drive to work on the stuff you need to work on and have a bit of harsh reality.

“Going into next year, I’ve got a lot of stuff to work on, that is pretty clear, a bit of stuff in the powerplay. I wasn’t good enough there this year, and my back end of the innings skills, which I need to work on, is part of why I’m going to Australia to practice that in game situations.

“It’s something I need to work on, and I can do that this winter and show some more skills next summer.

“I think confidence is a fairly big one for me. I do practice hard with my white-ball skills, but it’s having the confidence to bowl it in a game, and I haven’t done that as much. I haven’t bowled that many yorker deliveries in games, and it’s having that confidence to go out and show your skills.

“Hopefully, this winter, I can build that confidence. There are some skills there. Now I just need to go and show them and bowl them a lot this winter and hopefully bring it into our T20 and 50 over cricket next year.”

Q: You will be 24 next season. Do you feel now as if you are coming into the prime period of your career over the next four or five years?

Dillon Pennington: “I hope so. The aim is to keep getting better and keep building on the success you have throughout your career. You don’t want too many blips.

“I don’t think there is too much more to work on technically, really big things. They are small things that will help my game in certain situations.

“Hopefully, keep taking more wickets and keep helping Worcestershire win more games of cricket throughout the next five years.”

Q: Are you someone who sets specific targets. Do you map out things like that?

Dillon Pennington: “I don’t think I’m quite like that. The 40 wickets last summer was a big target. Next year my target will be to beat what I did this year and it will be as simple as that.

“I don’t really want to set myself too many targets. At the end of the day, we are there to win games of cricket for Worcestershire and get promoted and win competitions in the white ball stuff.

“My targets are pretty generic, and if I do that, that puts us in a good place as a side.”

Q: Last season was a case of what might have been in red-ball cricket, wash-outs and not finishing games when on top?

Dillon Pennington: “We were really unlucky in the last four games when the rain came on a couple of occasions when we were on top a lot (against Glamorgan and Sussex).

“We were in winning positions, but that’s only a positive. If you put yourselves into positions where you can win a game of cricket, then you can build on that and take that into the following season.

“Hopefully, that will put us in good stead for next year, and, if the rain doesn’t come, we turn those positions into winning games.

“Leicestershire away in the first game was frustrating when we only needed the one wicket, and we had two or three games where we couldn’t just get over the game. 

“In fairness, Glamorgan batted really well at New Road, and we didn’t quite bowl as well as we wanted to.

“But we go again next year, and hopefully, we can push for promotion.”

Q: You’ve played in ICC Under-19 World Cup for England, would the Lions be your next target?

Dillon Pennington: “It is my next target. I’ve got a long way to go in my cricket. I’ve got a few little things that have been highlighted that need to be worked on.

“They are not major things, but I’ve got to do that over this winter and next summer and probably the winter after, and hopefully, that will come.

“I’ve now learnt I’ve got to keep stacking up performances, keep trying to win games for Worcestershire and hopefully, it will come at some stage.

“It is definitely something I want. I want to play Test cricket for England, of course. I just need to be patient and let it happen if it is going to happen.

“I’m really pleased for Jack Haynes getting some Lions recognition. He deserves it. He is an unbelievable player and has done really well this summer.

“Hopefully he shows his skills on the international stage.”

Q: How pleased are all the lads to have Josh Tongue back?

Dillon Pennington: “We are over the moon for him. He went through a really challenging time, and, of course, being one of his close mates, I saw the low moments he had and how challenging that was for him.

“It is a testament to himself how strong he was during that time, and it is so pleasing as a squad that we’ve got him back.

“He adds a completely new dimension of raw pace and skill, and it will help to put us in great positions next year if he can play as many games as possible.

“It makes our attack look really strong.”