Friday, December 1st, 2023


Alan Richardson says Worcestershire’s players are encouraged to try and make an impact in all three facets of the game and not just their number one skill-set.

Worcestershire’s Head Coach highlighted the importance of the likes of pace bowlers Adam Finch and Ben Gibbon and spinner Josh Baker all playing vital roles with the bat at various stages last summer.

Finch and Gibbon’s last wicket partnership, before then opening the batting in the second innings, was crucial in drawing the home County Championship game with Yorkshire.

Baker’s excellent knock, in support of Club Captain, Brett D’Oliveira’s superb innings, against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham was a key factor in laying the foundations for a last day victory.

Richardson says stepping up the quality of the fielding, particularly in the slips, is also a key area he is looking to improve after last summer when Worcestershire seldom fielded a settled cordon.

He said: “We really encourage our players to make sure they can give us an impact in all three parts of the game.

“It is for the players to understand the impact they have in whatever the skill set they are trying to take part in.

“Ben Gibbon and Adam Finch, really important they progress their batting, as it will be for all of the bowlers.

“Certainly the importance of that would have been seen hugely in the Yorkshire fixture at home last summer.

“Josh Baker made a hugely invaluable contribution against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham when he got his highest score of 75 in a really good partnership.

“That should be one of our strengths, that guys should be able to make those impacts, not just in their primary skill set but the other ones as well.

“It is important that from now on, there is a huge emphasis on that.”

Richardson would ideally like to develop a group of players who feel comfortable fielding in the slips.

He said: “Our fielding has to improve massively. Our slip catching wasn’t as good as it should have been last year. It is hard enough work as it is as a bowler creating opportunities.

“All three guys we’ve signed, Rob Jones, Ethan Brookes and Tom Taylor will have a huge impact on the field as well and we want our current cricketers to embrace that as well.

“It does take a while to become a specialist slip fielder. It was really unsettled last season. We were trying to come up with combinations with whatever 11 we had on the field.

“In an ideal world, in a squad of 20, I’d like at least eight of them to be really, really competent in the slips so it doesn’t matter whatever 11 we put out, guys will be able to fill a slip cordon.

“But ideally you have a settled one where guys understand the combinations and the partnerships they have. I think that understanding is really important.

“It takes huge amounts of resilience to put yourselves in the slips and put yourselves in the position where opportunities are going to come your way.

“There are many mental bits to being a slip fielder. You might stand there for 95.4 overs and then get a chance to the penultimate ball of the day, your only chance. You need to be ready for that.”