Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Rhodes: Fell Laiddback Approach Helps With Battles On And Off The Pitch

There have been few more emotional sights at New Road in recent years than the ovation which greeted Tom Fell's first century since getting the all clear to resume his Worcestershire career after his double battle against cancer.

The crowd rose as one to applaud the 22-year-old after he reached three figures in the Royal London One-Day Cup triumph over Lancashire.

It was a signal that they recognised the traumas Fell had gone through to get to that magical moment as his innings helped revived Worcestershire's quarter-final hopes – a goal they subsequently achieved via their win over Nottinghamshire 24 hours later.

But Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes believes the laidback aproach of Fell has helped to deal with what life has thrown at him and his challenges out in the middle.

Rhodes said: "I just said to him when he came off the field, if he thinks back to April-May, I bet he never thought he was going to be winning a game with a century not out and carrying his bat through to the end.

"The ovation he got from the crowd, when 95% of the people stood up, showed they were also understanding of the fact this bloke has had a tougher battle than scoring a hundred against Lancashire.

"Having got through that battle, and then getting some reward by scoring a century against Lancashire and winning that game for us, is just testament to his qualities as a person.

"We are very lucky because he has got a laidback approach so he takes things in his stride and doesn't get too emotional, up or down.

"Once you understand him, and I've been guilty a few years ago of not understanding him as well as I do now, once you understand where he is, it is very easy to understand those qualities are what make him a good player and a good person.

"It is credit that he has fought through what he has fought through and he is back doing the job he loves and actually winning games."

Fell's talent had been recognised before his fight against cancer and last summer he was the youngest player to socre 1,000 runs in Division One of the County Championship.

A century against champions Yorkshire at New Road received glowing praise from Yorkshire supremo Jason Gillespie.

Rhodes said: "He is a good player. One of his strengths is the way he lets the ball come and plays under his eyes and what you saw versus Lancashire was a wide 360 degrees array of shots with no slogs.

"He has got a good temperament and playing the ball late is always a good sign at whatever level you are playing at.

"But this guy has recovered from cancer and he is now winning games of cricket for Worcestershire so let's take it one stage at a time, get him through this season and hopefully a couple more match winning innings and really try and kick on next year for him.

"He is a young enough player, the only player in our team as well as the youngest in the country, to get 1,000 runs in Division One last season so he has got the right qualities."