Friday, June 16th, 2017

Rhodes Pride As Academy Products Tackle “one Of Man Utds Of Cricket”

Rhodes Pride As Academy Products Tackle “one Of Man Utds Of Cricket”

Steve Rhodes believes Surrey are "one of the Manchester Uniteds of cricket" with their financial power but is proud of the group of Worcestershire academy products who will try to overcome them in tomorrow's Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final at New Road.

The County's Director Of Cricket says the Rapids will be underdogs in what is the club's 25th semi-final appearance.

But Rhodes also points to the way they have punched above their weight in topping the North Group and securing a money-spinning home tie in front of a near full house.

He said: "It is a big game and it is crucial in the sense of it's a knockout situation so you either win and go through or you lose and you are left behind.

"It is just another game of cricket and that's how we should approach it.

"We have played in quarter-finals (for the last three years in white ball cricket) so knockout stages are not uncommon to us and this one in front of our home crowd is set for a lovely day's cricket.

"I think the weather forecast is good and the prospects of a packed crowd is good and why wouldn't you want to go out there and just enjoy it?

"We've played great cricket in this competition and if we can manage to win this one game, then a final would be wonderful.

"But having said that, as England found on Wednesday, knockout cricket means exactly that – knockout. You don't play quite as well on the day and you are knocked out.

"Just go out there and enjoy it, give it your best shot and let's hope we've got fire-power and togetherness as a team to win."

Rhodes added: "Do we regard ourselves as underdogs? Massively underdogs. You've just got to look at their bank balance and our bank balance and you look at the amount of players they've got and what they pay them and similarly what we do.

"Our home grown academy products are what we are proud of and to get through to semi-final is magnificent.

"So to take on in a semi-final one of the Manchester Uniteds of cricket, with the amount of financial power they've got, based in London, what they can do there, and how they can raise revenues, is great.

"They are the favourites, they are the ones that should be winning, so what a wonderful position to be in for us."

Worcestershire have beaten four teams who play at international grounds at home on their way to the semi-finals in Notts Outlaws, Warwickshire, Yorkshire and Durham Jets.

Rhodes said: "That's one of the wonderful things about sport. We constantly have punched above our weight and the academy products, the amount of English players that are available to be selected for England that play in our team, it's something to be proud of.

"We've got John (Hastings) and Moeen (Ali) who have played international cricket and no-one else has played international cricket.

"It's a wonderful place to be in because we know the future is ahead of these guys."