Friday, October 21st, 2016

Question And Answer Session With Joe Leach Part One

Question And Answer Session With Joe Leach Part One

Joe Leach had a season to remember for Worcestershire with 65 Specsavers County Championship wickets – the most by any player in Division Two – and nearly 600 runs.

He was voted the Club's Players' Player of The Year for the second successive season and also lifted the Dick Lygon Award which recognises the contribution of a player off as well as on the field.

Then at the end of the season Leach was named as Worcestershire's new captain in succession to Daryl Mitchell.

Here he looks back at last season, his thoughts on what lies ahead and on being made the County's 29th official skipper in a three part question and answer session with the Worcestershire CCC website.

Question: What does it mean to you to captain Worcestershire?

Joe Leach: "It is difficult to describe. It is not something I've had time to think about too much to be honest. It hasn't really sunk in yet.

"I've spoken to the lads but it hasn't really sunk in. Going away, in the coming weeks to Australia, I'm sure it will sink in a little bit more but obviously it is a tremendous honour and something I'm really excited about, taking on the challenge and I can't wait really now."

Question: You captained the team for a couple of one-dayers last season, how did you find that?

Joe Leach: "I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it when I did it in the second team for a little while and I did it growing up.

"I did really enjoy it. We won both of those games as well, which was nice, and it is going to help if you win but I did enjoy it and I enjoyed the responsibility."

Question: A few members are concerned you are taking a lot on given your all-rounder role?

Joe Leach: "Obviously people are going to be a little bit concerned about that and I don't want that 'burn-out' if that is what people are worried about.

"But it is not something I am overly concerned about.

"I pretty much captained myself when I was bowling anyway. It is going to be a challenge and very hard work but, I was thinking about this over the next few days, and someone like Dominic Cork did it (the all-rounder and captaincy role).

"He was obviously a lot more experienced at the time than I am now but it can be done certainly.

"I will be relying on people around me to help and making sure I am bowling the right amount of overs.

"That is my biggest concern at the moment. I don't want to bowl myself too little or too much but I'm sure that won't be too much of a problem come the season and, having someone like Hastings come in, who is an experienced international cricketer, will be a help.

"Obviously I still hope to rely on Mitch and some of the younger lads are starting to grow up now if you look at someone like Ben Cox behind the stumps.

"We are starting to get towards the stage where they are certainly not experienced but they are not inexperienced by any stretch. I am fairly confident."

Question: Andrew Flintoff sometimes over-bowled himself for England when captain?

Joe Leach: "It is a little bit like that and to be honest I'd be begging for the ball sometimes last year when I shouldn't have had it.

"It is something I'm going to be very concious of and I'm going in 'eyes wide open' in that respect.

"I don't want to upset the balance of what I've done as a cricketer.

"I just see it as an additional string to my bow in leading the side now but, in terms of what the season is for me as a cricketer is, I would hope it would be very similar."

Question: Is it true you wouldn't be afraid to speak to people if the situation requires?

Joe Leach: "That isn't to say we haven't had them already, but I have high standards and I want people to reach them and I want to see that.

"I want there to be from my point of view a bit of a shift away from us being seen as a young side.

"We are well aware we've got some young players but I think it's time…..the club have made a commitment to the playing group at the moment and I think the playing group need to start to deliever on that with performances and results."

Question: Most of the lads have been in the side for three years, are they past the 'potential' stage?

Joe Leach: "I think that 'potential' is gone. We want to make sure people are accountable for themselves and we as a side are accountable for our performances."

*Tune in to part two of the Q and A with Joe Leach on the Worcestershire CCC website during the next few days.