Friday, July 7th, 2017

Rapids Skipper Spells Out Hopes And Aspirations For 2017 T20 Blast

Rapids Skipper Spells Out Hopes And Aspirations For 2017 T20 Blast

New Worcestershire Rapids skipper Joe Leach is relishing the start of the NatWest T20 Blast which gets underway this evening with the sold out local derby against Birmingham Bears at New Road.

Leach says the Rapids can take heart from their performances in the Royal London One-Day Cup in topping the North Group as they head into the short format of the game.

He would dearly love to lead the Rapids to a first finals day appearance but says the target should be to try and win the competition and not merely being content with a day out at Edgbaston in early September.

Here Leach previews the T20 Blast in a question and answer session with the Worcestershire CCC website.


Question: The T20 Blast is upon us, what are your thoughts looking forward?

Joe Leach: "Really excited. You look at our side and, after what happened in the 50 over competition, we are going into this T20 season full of confidence.

"I think we have got a good side on paper, a very dangerous side. I just can't wait to get going and crack on with it now."


Question: You mention the 50 over competition. Does the fact you played all these sides you will now be facing – and have done well against – give you confidence?

Joe Leach: "It is a bit different isn't it this year coming so late in the season compared to past years. I can't remember the T20 being this late getting underway.

"We've had the benefit of playing that 50 over tournament and doing relatively well in that apart from two games. We are a confident white ball side.

"I think if anything, with the inclusion of Mitchell Santner into the side, and George Rhodes' all-round ability and stuff, on paper we look a promising side."


Question: Do you think we've got the squad to cover all the bases, batting and bowling?

Joe Leach: "We are loaded with all-rounders and we are going to be flexible. We've got different players for different conditions, different games.

"We've got the slow bowling covered, we've got the seam covered, obviously just in our two overseas players, and we've got some frightening hitters.

"As you saw in the 50 over competition, we are a side capable of being an exciting batting order and hopefully in T20 cricket that will suit us even more potentially."


Question: Steve Rhodes and Matt Mason experienced finals day a couple of years ago, have you ever experienced it?

Joe Leach: "I went in 2004 when Leicestershire won it. It is a brilliant day and it is a shame the club have not so far reached it.

"We have to set our expectations at winning the competition as we did with the 50 over tournament.

"It's all very well saying we want to get to these events but we need now to play good cricket for the next month to put ourselves in the mix for a knockout game come mid August and then hopefully we get there and perform on the day as well.

"There is nothing to say we are not one of the best four teams in the country in this format. We need to carry on that 50 over form and improve on it because obviously we didn't quite nail what we wanted to achieve in that format.

"We will be working really hard this next month-six weeks to really target winning this competition."


Question: Worcestershire have got to three quarter-finals in the last five years so are not rabbits in this competition?

Joe Leach: "We are certainly not rabbits and we are ever improving and if you look at our side on paper you could argue it's stronger than some of those years when we qualified for the quarter-finals.

"But you don't win anything on paper and also come knockout time, you don't win anything on paper then.

"Group form has counted for nothing and we saw that with the sem-final this year. We've seen that with some of the quarter-finals we have played in previous years.

"First of all, let's put together a good group campaign, show off our skills and then, when it comes to knockout cricket in mid August, make sure we put on a show then."