Friday, January 9th, 2015

Rhodes Hoping Andrew Ready To Bowl In Abu Dhabi After Back Fitness Boost

Rhodes Hoping Andrew Ready To Bowl In Abu Dhabi After Back Fitness Boost

Worcestershire Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes expects all-rounder Gareth Andrew to be fit to bowl in the opening game of the pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi in early March if all goes to plan after he was given the all-clear with his back problem.

Andrew received the news he was hoping for when scans showed the fracture in his lumbar pedicle had completely healed.

He tweeted: "Finally my back fracture has finally healed and I have the green light, the season can't come quick enough!"

The 30-year-old endured a frustrating 2014 after making a superb start with 20 wickets in the opening four LV = County Championship matches.

He was unable to bowl for the remainder of the campaign although able to play as a batsman when required and he came up with some crucial late hitting in the NatWest T20 Blast win over Durham at New Road.

Rhodes said: "It is basically all stations go for Gareth to now get a back to bowling programme – which he has started – to culminate in being ready for matches out in Abu Dhabi.

"He has two weeks where he is doing a lot of strengthening and then he is into his bowling like the rest of the lads.

"Fingers crossed, if all goes to plan, he will be fit to bowl in that first game in Abu Dhabi should he be selected for that game."

Worcestershire are due to play Derbyshire, Middlesex and the United Arab Emirates in a series of T20, 50 over and red ball matches during their 11 day trip to Abu Dhabi.

Andrew's return will give Worcestershire plenty of strength in depth in the all-rounder department for 2015 alongside Joe Leach, Ed Barnard and Ross Whiteley.

Rhodes said: "To have him fighting alongside the likes of Ed Barnard, and Joe Leach, for the all-rounder spot, that is tremendous with those sort of quality guys.

"You might say four with Ross (Whiteley) as well – and that doesn't mean you can't play all of them as well.

"There are going to be games where we could easily play all of them. I know Shants (Jack Shantry) would like to be classified as an all-rounder as well.

"What it does do, is give you plenty of depth in your batting."