Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023


Alan Richardson says Worcestershire’s bowlers have a “brilliant opportunity” to test their skills when facing Steve Smith and Cheteshwar Pujara in Thursday’s LV=Insurance County Championship encounter with Sussex at New Road.

Richardson says the wickets of international stars such as Jacques Kallis, Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden are the ones he remembers most from his own distinguished career.

Now the current attack has the chance to strive to pick up the prized wickets of international stars Smith and Pujara and to be able to tell their grandchildren about such memorable days in years to come if they succeed.

Richardson said: “It is a brilliant opportunity for the guys to test themselves against two really good batters who have scored thousands of runs between them at first class and international level.

“As much as it is a big challenge, it is one from my memory that is always exciting when you come up against those top players.

“It is a real good acid test to see where you are at.

“There is the opportunity to get them out, and the wickets I always remember are the big international ones.

“I managed to get a couple, but not too many, Jacques Kallis a couple of times, Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden.

“For those guys to play against such good players, is that opportunity to have them as a scalp and talk it through down the pub or to the grandkids in years to come.”

Richardson was in his first season with Worcestershire in 2010 when Smith played T20 cricket for the club.

He said: “I remember him a little bit. He had just come back from his Australian tour in the Caribbean, a very bubbly character, good to have around.

“He was very skilful at that time, but just making his way in international cricket. I’m hoping he has fond memories of being a Worcestershire player now that he is back here.”

Richardson has announced a 12-strong squad for the Sussex fixture.

It includes Club Captain Brett D’Oliveira, who had to retire injured after being struck on the hand whilst batting against Gloucestershire, and keeper-batter Gareth Roderick, available after missing that game with a thumb injury suffered in practice.

But pace bowler Dillon Pennington is ruled out with a hamstring problem.

Richardson said: “We are just testing Brett every day, seeing how he goes, and he took part in practice, took part in fielding (on Tuesday), had a good bowl, and will have a hit on Wednesday.

“Just moving along through the gears as we get closer to the game.

“Dillon’s hamstring is not quite where he wants it to be. He is taking a bit of time to try and get that right.

“We felt that was more important than him trying to muddle through. It’s just not quite right at the moment.”

Worcestershire will return to action after a 10-day break.

Richardson said: “The weather has been a challenge for us throughout that period, but we had two good days doing some white-ball stuff, and the boys enjoyed interacting with the members on Thursday.

“They have also managed to play a bit of club cricket and National Counties cricket.

“It was important for the guys to have three days off after those three back-to-back games, but they are back into things, and hopefully, the weather will be kind to us, and we can get some more cricket in.”

Worcestershire have switched between using four or five seamers in the three matches to date.

Richardson said: “I think we just need to keep looking at it game by game as much as possible.

“Obviously (spinner) Josh Baker has not been involved in those games so far because of injury and then coming back, but he is now in the mix, starting with the second team.

“It is nice decisions to have to make, and it’s just trying to work out from game to game which is the best way for us to try and win that game in front of us.”