Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

Rhodes Looking For County To Find Winning Habit In Championship

Rhodes Looking For County To Find Winning Habit In Championship

Worcestershire launch the second half of their Specsavers County Championship campaign against Leicestershire at New Road tomorrow with Steve Rhodes admitting they now need to obtain the winning habit in that competition.

The County are lying in fifth spot in Division Two – only 23 points new leaders Kent and with a game in hand.

Director of Cricket Rhodes admits it is a surprise to be in such strong contention after one win in the opening eight games but is now looking for his side to turn some encouraging performances into victories.

On being well placed in the table, Rhodes said: "Yes, surprisingly so because we could have done with more wins in that competition.

"We recognise that we've got to win games now going into the second half of this campaign and that will be the plan.

"We sadly have come across some sides that have been very resilient against us and we haven't quite at times been able to bowl them out with the exception of Leicestershire for a small total.

"But I think generally, apart from the last game (against Derbyshire), we have been very solid with the bat.

"We've played some useful four-day cricket without really getting much reward and we are certainly going all out for victories in the second half of the campaign."

Teams have generally had to contend with flatter pitches after the change in the 'toss' rule means away sides have an automatic right to bowl first if they desire.

Rhodes said: "Have the pitches had a major impact? I think it is had an impact….people like Shants (Jack Shantry) has found it a little bit more difficult.

"I think generally teams are very cautious about producing wickets that go all over the place because they are going to be put into bat and the game could be over before it almost starts.

"I think it (the new 'toss' rule) has been a good exercise by the ECB and it has got partly what it wanted which is to produce better wickets which does make it a little bit harder to bowl people out.

"Will teams gamble more in the second half of the season? I think that might be a possibility and you are right saying that now we are at the half-way stage, some teams might do that.

"There are still rules on unfit pitches and being penalised but it will be interesting to see whether people are prepared to gamble a bit more."

One pleasing factor has been the number of batting bonus points Worcestershire have accrued – 27 out of a possible 35 from seven first innings knocks.

Rhodes said: "We are pleased and we've got a very young side that are still learning their trade but because they've been given opportunities early, we are starting to see them mature at an early age which is lovely to see.

"I took great delight in seeing Barny (Ed Barnard) and Clarkey (Joe Clarke) as two youngsters out there putting on a good stand when the pressure was on against Derbyshire when we were battling to save the game.

"That is just one example. There have been so many, the way Tom Kohler-Cadmore has played, the way Dolly (Brett D'Oliveira) has played and there is Tom Fell to come back."