skipper joe leach and the worcestershire squad will report back for pre-season training at New Road next week after a six week break to recharge the batteries.
the countdown will begin towards the start of next season when the county will be back amongst the elite in division one of the specsavers county championship.
here joe continues his look back at last season’s triumphs in part two of a question and answer session with the worcestershire ccc website.
question: you always had the fire-power in the championship to bowl sides out, the likes of yourself, josh tongue, ed barnard, and latterly ravichandran ashwin?
joe leach: “it was very good. obviously with the addition of steve magoffin for next season as well as the likes of moz (charlie morris) and shants (jack shantry) and george scrimshaw and pat brown.
“it is a nice stable to have going into division one where we probably are going to have to use all our resources.
“you need to take 20 wickets to win games and, for us to do that more often than not, was very pleasing.”
question: do you take a lot of confidence from 2015 when you came close to staying up?
joe leach: “i think we will probably approach it a little bit different to how we have in the past. we have always probably gone in with the mindset of ‘we want to stay up.’
“if you look at essex’s story, and i don’t want to draw too many comparisons across from us to them, but it certainly is a story where it shows you can go up and you can compete.
“if we play anywhere like we have this year – which we are going to need to do – and if not a little better at times, then we will win games of cricket.
“you don’t win nine games of cricket by fluke. nine games is a hell of a lot to win.
“even if you translate into division one and a couple of those become losses, you are end up winning a lot of games of cricket.
“i think that is the most pleasing thing for me. we are a positive side, we do look to get results and win games – and if you win games, as you saw in that division last year, you are going to end up in a decent position because that’s what essex managed to do.
“look at surrey. i think they managed to win only two games and drew the rest and they finished third so if you end up winning five, six, seven games, you are going to put yourself in a good position in that league.”
question: you have always had that positive mindset of rather gambling to win than take the five points fora draw?
joe leach: “i don’t think that is necessarily just me. if you look at the back-end of last year, we realised with this new toss rule that you need to win games of cricket.
“we realised five or six games into 2016 that to get anywhere, to get promoted, to stay up, to win leagues, you need to win games.
“we have chased 400 three times now in the last eight or nine championship games at new road on the last day so that shows where we are at as a squad and the belief we’ve got that we can win games.”
question: what a fantastic season for daryl mitchell?
joe leach: “i can’t speak highly enough about him. he has been a revelation, seven centuries. that is a special effort by anyone’s efforts.
“not only that, in the one-day cup and t20 blast, he was probably our stand-out bowler in t20 cricket along with brett (d’oliveira) and came into the one-day cup side, and got runs, and bowled really well.
“he’s just had an unbelievable season and i’m sure he will be very happy with how it has gone.”
question: has he been a help to you in your first year as captain?
joe leach: “he has. i don’t think anyone would have expected him to be any different. he is a loyal club man, he is a good mate of mine, and has acted according to that. he has been fantastic really.”