Thursday, May 16th, 2024

Squad & preview: Surrey vs Worcestershire

Worcestershire Head Coach Alan Richardson, praised the “incredibly resilient character” of Gareth Roderick ahead of the Vitality County Championship match with champions and current Division One leaders Surrey at The Oval beginning on Friday.

Roderick batted for 93 overs against Kent at Canterbury on an emotional opening day after the passing of spinner Josh Baker when scoring a century which laid the platform for a total of 618-7 declared.

He then kept wicket for two days spanning more than 200 overs in intense heat with barely a blemish.

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Richardson said: “I had quite a few comments from members when walking around at Canterbury saying ‘is he alright doing this?’ and ‘in an ideal world, would your keeper open the batting as well?’

“Possibly not but Gareth is an incredibly resilient character. He is also very passionate about what he does.

“He wants to bat as high up as he can and, when an opportunity came to open the batting last year, he was really keen to do it.

“I think there are some real challenges along the way for him, especially when we bowl first and spend a period of time in the field.

“To then go out and open the batting is going to be really tough for him, but it’s something he never shys away from and that is a huge representation of his character.

“He loves a challenge, he never backs down, I’d never ever expect to see him back down from anything put in front of him.”

Richardson added: “What he did on Friday was exceptional, batted beautifully, exactly what we needed as a team at that time.

“It had been an incredibly emotional lead-up to the game and he deal with that brilliantly well and executed an amazing innings for us.

“To go out and keep the way he did, 206 overs on a docile surface where you weren’t going to get many opportunities as a keeper, was outstanding.

“His showed great levels of concentration, he kept the energy levels really high and tactically he was always spot on.

“We are seeing some really good stuff from Gareth and it is exciting to see what is ahead.”

Richardson is looking for Worcestershire to maintain their levels of performance during the opening phase of the season against Surrey.

He said: “Primarily I always look at the performance first, and you hope then the results take care of themselves.

“We can’t control the weather or the surfaces we are playing on for a lot of the time. Four of those five games, I believe we have performed really well.

“We bounced back from the Durham game against Somerset and Kent and what we can do is just make sure we give ourselves the best chance to perform, and we’ve done that really well so far.

“We have to keep maintaining that belief and confidence. We’ve got 14 games. We know we are not going to have the rub of the green or perform as well as we would like all of the time.

“Last year at times we got the rub of the green at times with weather and not the previous year.

“My old coach at Warwickshire, Neal Abberly talked about controlling the controllables and that’s all we can do really.

“It feels like we’ve done that really well and the boys have been outstanding in attitude and energy every single game.”

Richardson added:  “Recent history tells you Surrey are really strong at the moment and they will play with a lot of confidence.

“It is a real nice challenge for us. Lots of teams have gone to The Oval over the last two years and not done very well but it is an opportunity for us to do well.

“The things we have done throughout the season, we have to try and do again.”

Worcestershire have announced a 13 strong squad – the 10 in action at Canterbury plus Adam Finch, Ed Pollock and Yadvinder Singh.

Worcestershire Squad
2 Jake Libby 
6 Matthew Waite
7 Ed Pollock
8 Yadvinder Singh
9 Gareth Roderick (w)
15 Brett D’Oliveira (c)
20 Nathan Smith
21 Ben Gibbon
23 Joe Leach
27 Kashif Ali
54 Adam Hose
61 Adam Finch
88 Rob Jones