Head Coach Alan Richardson is looking forward to seeing Worcestershire Rapids players test their skills against one of the leading international sides in New Zealand in Friday’s sold out T20 encounter at New Road (2.30pm start).
Metro Bank One Day Cup six hitting hero Kashif Ali, new signing Rob Jones and Josh Baker, the Rapids leading wicket-taker in the 50 over competition, are part of an exciting Worcestershire squad which also includes promising rookie contract professionals Rehaan Edavalath, Henry Cullen and Olly Cox.
Worcestershire have strong connections with New Zealand stretching back many decades and a significant number of their players have played for the county, including all-rounders Mitchell Santner and Michael Bracewell during the Vitality Blast this summer.
Santner was the Rapids leading scorer with 404 runs and also picked up 12 wickets in addition to being their most economical bowler.
Richardson said: “Whenever we get the chance to host an international side, it’s something we cherish, and it’s an opportunity for the members to come down and watch international cricketers.
“It’s also an opportunity for our boys to impress, and in the past, they have produced some really good performances against international sides.
“Hopefully the crowd will enjoy seeing the lads really pitting their wits against some very good cricketers.
“I’m really looking forward to it. It is a chance for some guys to get some cricket, which they haven’t had much chance to do. Jack Haynes has just come back from injury so a real good opportunity for him.
“It’s a perfect scenario for us to play against an international side and a country we are really well connected to, in terms of who we’ve had as overseas players in recent history and going further back.
“For us it’s a good connection and a game the club are really looking forward to, and I know the players will be as well.”
Assistant Head Coach, Kadeer Ali, echoed Richardson’s sentiments.
He said: “We’ve had quite a few of the New Zealand lads play for us, so there are a few faces we are going to know on Friday.
“What a fantastic chance for some of the guys to play against one of the best teams in the world.
“We are really excited and there will be another big crowd and it should be a fantastic day.”