Monday, August 23rd, 2021


Worcestershire CCC Assistant Coach Alan Richardson is looking for Josh Baker and Jacques Banton to build on their first-team breakthrough at New Road and develop into “really important members of the squad.”

Spinner Baker made his LV=Insurance County Championship debut against Warwickshire last month and then played every group match in the Royal London Cup.

He bowled with control, showed a good temperament, and weighed in with useful late order runs.

Banton played in three Royal London Cup matches and showed his potential with bat and ball.

Richardson, who is also Bowling Coach, said: “It was a real good experience for both of them. Jacques probably didn’t play quite as many games as he would have liked, but Josh played in them all, and he showed us he is a skilful bowler with a good temperament.

“He’s had a bit of a rollercoaster already. He has been involved in tight finishes with bat and ball, and he has acquitted himself really well, considering he has just finished his A levels.

“He has now taken that first step as a professional cricketer, and he impressed in terms of that and, with the bat, he made some nice contributions down the order.

“He certainly wasn’t fazed with whatever situation he was put in. That is a good sign.

“Steve Eskinazi and Max Holden of Middlesex played him really well and, for the first time, put him under real pressure. He came back from that and bowled well after that.

He dropped a couple of catches, which he is going to do, and so all the things that come with playing cricket, whether you are a professional or not, you are going to have to deal with days or moments that don’t quite go your way.

“Josh has been level all the way through and shown a great temperament which will hold in good stead moving forward.”

Richardson added: “With Jacques, we see him as someone who certainly has the ability to really make an impact with both and bat, in white ball cricket to start off with.

“I can see him playing some match-winning innings for us down the line if he continues to develop, and he will be a really effective performer with the ball in his own way in white ball cricket.

“He has had his first little taste of it, and hopefully there will be many more to come.

“You want him and Josh to continue to develop and become really important members of the squad.”

Richardson believes the Royal London Cup has been a “great success” as a tournament in 2021 with more than 100 players across the 18 counties making their List A debut.

There was concern voiced about the competition when it was announced it would be played at the same time as The Hundred.

But the emergence of young talent, including Baker and Banton for Worcestershire, was a major plus point in the 50 over competition.

It also attracted good-sized crowds and members and supporters at New Road saw some quality cricket across the four home fixtures.

Richardson said: “There have been over 100 players who have made their List A debuts for the different counties in the competition.

“We certainly had five who made their Royal London-50 over debuts for us, so that was great.

“We didn’t know what it was going to be like and some counties were affected more than others with the call-up to The Hundred.

“I think the standard has been very good and we have seen some good young cricketers, and some high quality ones who didn’t quite get into The Hundred.

“I think it has been a great success. I know our boys enjoyed playing in it. It felt like a really competitive tournament.

“It’s also been great having the fans back in. We’ve been really lucky wherever we went, certainly at home, there were a lot of people coming to watch and enjoying the cricket.

“Hopefully they enjoyed the cricket at Worcester, some exciting games, even if the results were not always what they would have liked.”