Wednesday, May 29th, 2024

New look Rapids squad preparing for start of Vitality Blast

West Indian leg spinner Hayden Walsh is one of six Worcestershire players who could make their debut for the Rapids in the Vitality Blast after being included in the squad to face Yorkshire Vikings at Headingley on Thursday evening.

Walsh, Josh Cobb, Rob Jones, Ethan Brookes, Tom Taylor and Nathan Smith are all named as part of a 14 strong party.

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Windies international Walsh, who has replaced Usama Mir after he failed to obtain a No Objection Certificate by the Pakistan Cricket Board, flew in from Antigua on Monday evening after being contacted by Worcestershire.

He was recommended by former Worcestershire players Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph and has previously played league cricket in England for Tenterden (2014) and Hayes (2017).

Head Coach Alan Richardson said: “It’s nice we’ve got some competition for places and we’ve got some options in terms of how we shape and mould the side.

“We are going to have five or six guys who are going to make their debut for the club in the tournament. It’s exciting for us and those players as well.”

Taylor, signed on a four year contract from Northamptonshire, is in contention after missing the early part of the season with knee and shoulder injuries suffered in second team cricket.

Richardson said: “Whenever you move to a new club, you want to try and make an impression and Tom has certainly done that during the winter and in pre-season.

“To have that cut short and not be able to play for the first team so far has been really frustrating for him.

“I know he is looking forward to the T20 and we saw first hand in that century he scored against us last year what he can do, and we know he is a reliable performer with the ball.

“For him it’s been a frustrating wait, and for the members as well, but it is exciting times ahead.”

Richardson and the squad have had to juggle practice for the Blast in between playing in the Vitality County Championship.

He said: “It is something we have to get used to, something we have to prepare and plan for. Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve tried to do a bit of white ball and start sneaking that into guys’ individual practice.

“The second team have played a couple of games as well which has been good for the guys who haven’t been involved in the Championship to get some white ball cricket in, but we know the tempo is incredibly different.

“Every county has been in the same boat as well so it’s how teams who adapt to it as well as they can who will probably be the ones that start well. “

Worcestershire reached the quarter-finals last season and Richardson is targeting more success this summer.

He said: “I always think the Blast is a very volatile competition. T20 cricket is incredibly inconsistent.

“For the guys who are still here and the support staff, we will take great confidence from last year. It would be amazing to get to finals day and that has to be the goal for us.”

Worcestershire Rapids
2 Jake Libby
3 Josh Cobb
6 Matthew Waite
7 Ed Pollock
9 Gareth Roderick (w)
12 Tom Taylor
15 Brett D’Oliveira (w)
20 Nathan Smith
21 Ben Gibbon
54 Adam Hose
61 Adam Finch
77 Ethan Brookes
86 Hayden Walsh
88 Rob Jones