Tuesday, August 16th, 2022


Pace bowler Josh Tongue is part of the Worcestershire squad for tomorrow’s Royal London Cup encounter with Northamptonshire Steelbacks at the County Ground, Northampton.

Tongue will take the first step towards being integrated back into the first team set-up after 14 months out of action with a shoulder problem.

It will be a gradual process after such a long lay-off, but Assistant-Coach, Alan Richardson believes there is light at the end of the tunnel for Tongue, who has returned to playing club cricket for Barnards Green.

His last appearance for Worcestershire was also at Northampton in a Vitality Blast match in June 2021.

Richardson said: “It has been a real tough time for Josh. He has been on a real journey with this injury and had several setbacks, and it has been really frustrating for him.

“But he has made some good strides over the last couple of months, has been working incredibly hard, and has now started to play a bit of club cricket.

“It is an opportunity for him to be in and around the squad for his first game. His last game for us was at Northampton well over a year ago, so he has been through a lot and, with how it has worked out, he is back there tomorrow.”

Richardson says Tongue’s inclusion will be a lift to himself and the squad.

He said: “We are not going to rush him in anything we do, but to get him in and around the group again will be a massive lift for the lads to see Josh around.

“He is a popular member of the squad, and I think it will be exciting for him to be around to start off with.

“It is really important for Josh to be comfortable in that environment. He is chomping at the bit.

“It feels like there is some light at the end of the tunnel now, but we don’t want to rush things, and we will see how he goes.

“For us to have him back, it will almost be like a new signing for a little while, but we have to tread carefully.”

Batter Gareth Roderick is set to be available after missing the game against Derbyshire with a stomach bug.

Richardson said: “Gareth was ill overnight on Saturday so was not available for selection on Sunday, but he is raring to go and joined in with training today.”

Captain Jake Libby will be looking to build on his fine knock against Derbyshire when he scored his maiden List A century.

Richardson said: “When Jake joined us, we knew the type of player we had, knew the kind of character we were getting.

“His results have been outstanding over the last couple of years, and this year he probably hasn’t quite met those standards, and he will be the first person to say that in terms of just pure stats.

“But for him to get his career best and his maiden List A hundred is something he should be really proud of.

“He played with good intent and at an excellent tempo, which we always want to do.

“The message to the batters is we are always looking to score, which can be at any sort of tempo, depending on the game, the surface, and what’ s happened.

“Jake put pressure back on the bowlers on Sunday, which was pleasing to watch, and it was a fine innings.”

The Rapids will select from the 11 players in action against Derbyshire plus Roderick, Olly Davidson and Tongue.