Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Mason: Promotion Is Goal And A Desire To Reach First T20 Finals Day

Mason: Promotion Is Goal And A Desire To Reach First T20 Finals Day

Worcestershire assistant coach Matt Mason says the goal for 2016 is a quickfire return to Division One of the County Championship after the full fixture list for next season was released today.

And Mason said the County would also "love to go one better" and reach NatWest T20 Blast finals day for the first time after last summer's heroics in the competition in securing a first ever home quarter-final.

Mason, who is managing the squad at New Road while Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes is on England Lions duty, is also confident of The County being able to deal with no longer being regarded as underdogs in Championship cricket.

He said: "Is the goal promotion? Without a doubt, just like last season was to try and finish mid table in Division One and consolidate and unfortunately it didn't happen.

"But we all know we played some really good cricket last year and all our players here developed a huge amount.

"For once people are talking about Worcestershire as a team that could potentially bounce back as opposed to being the underdogs again.

"We will manage that expectation really well and the key is starting the season well because confidence builds, you get on a run and suddenly you can be flying and away you go.

"The T20 target? We'd love to go one better. Last year was so disappointing for everyone involved in such a good campaign.

"For it to finish the way it did here in the gloom (against Hampshire) was really, really sad.

"But again we've got to take the positives. We've got a very good squad for T20 cricket. We do believe we should be playing T20 finals day at some point soon because we certainly deserve to be.

"The one thing these young lads have got is a huge amount of belief in their ability.

"Before T20 started last summer, that was built in some of the cricket they played in the Championship against big teams like Yorkshire and Warwickshire.

"We didn't always win but we mixed it up with them and that brought about a huge amount of confidence in these young lads and we went in with an attitude of let's just express ourselves and see what we can do.

"That takes pressure off players so they can go out there and play with fun and you will be suprised how much better and more relaxed they are when they have that attitude."

Worcestershire struggled to make an impact in the Royal London One-Day Cup after focuing for much of the campaign on Championship survival and T20 Blast glory.

Mason said: "Was that a competition too far? We threw so much energy and effort into our four-day cricket and our T20 and it was probably the case.

"Having said that, they are all professional, they need to adapt to all forms, but I think with the nature of the squad we've got, with some of the younger players developing, we can rotate players and hopefully keep fresh minds and bodies out there more often."