Worcestershire CCC Assistant Coach-Bowling Coach, Alan Richardson, can relate to the hunger to succeed evident in new signing, left-arm pace bowler Ben Gibbon, after experiencing a similar career path himself.
Gibbon had spent two years working on a building site, alongside playing National Counties cricket for Cheshire, before being given an opportunity to become a professional cricketer at New Road.
He has started to and will continue to work closely with former pace bowler Richardson who himself had to put in the hard yards away from the middle to make a living.
Richardson eventually flourished at Middlesex and then Worcestershire, where he picked up 254 Championship wickets in four years and was a Wisden Cricketer Of The Year in 2012.
It made all that graft and night shifts worthwhile for Richardson, and now Gibbon is determined to grab the same opportunity.
Richardson said: “I can relate to where Ben has come from to have this opportunity. I spent three years out of the game where I worked in factories and warehouses, doing all sorts of hours, and even as a landscape gardner, although not a very good one!
“I even had one job where I screwed studs into golf shoes and had to do 2,400 of them every shift. It was challenging, but it paid the bills, and I would do anything to pursue my dream of playing cricket.
“You do appreciate things a hell of a lot when you then get those opportunities (in cricket), and I’m sure with Ben, we will see that.
“He is settling in nicely, and we have seen some real drive and hunger in the time he has spent with us already, and that will be a really good thing to rub off on the rest of the group as well.”
Richardson believes the amount of bowling Gibbon already has under his belt in club cricket, and National Counties level will stand him in good stead.
He said: “Ben is a little bit more of what you would probably describe as an old fashioned bowler, who likes long bowling spells.
“He has played a lot of club and National Counties cricket where he would have bowled huge spells.
“We are not talking bowling seven or eight overs, we are talking into the teens, and he has got an amazing engine by the looks of it.
“He has bowled a lot, which will hold him in good stead, and he has shown some attributes in the games and training to think going forward he will be someone you hope will be a consistent performer for us.
“Again, it will take time, and we have to be prepared to have patience. He will want things to happen quickly, but he will be looking to get himself in-bedded in the squad and show what he can do.
“He has certainly shown that he has some really good characteristics and being a left armer as well, something we haven’t got.
“Having had long conversations with him, he certainly knows his cricket, knows his strengths but also things he wants to work on and get better at. I’m really excited to see how it goes as the winter progresses.”