Colin Munro says there are plenty of “green shoots” of optimism to be taken from Worcestershire Rapids’ Vitality Blast campaign, providing they learn from the experiences of 2022.
The New Zealand star, who finished as the Rapids leading run-scorer, points to the young quartet, Mitchell Stanley, Jack Haynes, Josh Baker and Kashif Ali, as reasons to look forward with belief and hope for the future.
Munro has also played a key part off the field in passing on his vast experience to some members of the squad and hopes he has forged strong enough relationships to continue doing that now the end of his third spell at New Road has come to an end.
He said: “As long as we keep learning, and use this year as a learning curve for next year, and the year after, and we keep asking the right questions of each other, I think this group will come out the right side in a couple of years time.
“It is a game of small margins, and T20 cricket is literally a game of inches. We didn’t have that one batter to go on in each game and carry us through the campaign, which is disappointing.
“Us as players have to take full responsibility. It’s the players who are going out on the field and doing the job.
“But there is plenty to learn and, if we do learn from it, then with these sort of tournaments, you will look back on and say actually it will put us in good stead looking forward.
“Three years ago, I was playing for Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League, and we had a tough season, won only two or three games and finished second from bottom.
“Then in the following year, we won eight on the bounce and got to the playoffs, and there was a big improvement.
“It’s not about making wholesale changes. It’s about learning from the mistakes you made the year before and tweaking them as best as you can.”
Munro added: “Are there green shoots? Definitely. There’s young Mitchell Stanley coming through. If we can keep him on the park, he looks like he has got a good future.
“He bowls with good pace, shapes it upfront.
“Young Jack Haynes, I would have liked to have seen a bit more of him because he is a great player, so hopefully, he will be back on the park soon and keep banging those scores out.
“Who knows what the future holds for him? He is a class act, and I think he is really one to watch for the future.
“There are a few others. Young Josh Baker, he has bowled really well. He surprised me with his skill, variety and change of pace.
“There is lots to work with, and young Kashif Ali, coming in and having his first half of a campaign in a team that wasn’t red hot. I’d love to see him coming in during the 14th over when we’ve got a big score to see what he can do at the back end.
“I’ve seen some of the highlights of what he can do in the Kashmir Premier League and things, and he is one that hopefully the club can look after and get back for the years to come, and he can put in some good performances.”
Munro, who won the Big Bash League this winter with Perth Scorchers, is naturally disappointed with the Blast campaign results-wise but has made a sizeable contribution on and off the field.
He said: “I’m still loving being part of a team. It’s been amazing at Worcestershire. It’s been nice to come back to a familiar place.
“You love to win, but it’s also about trying to add to the environment and contribute off the field as well, and I think I’ve done that’s to the best of my ability.
“Hopefully I’ve formed some relationships, and I can keep in touch in the years to come where they do feel they can come and talk to me about batting.
“When I was a youngster at Auckland, I had Azhar Masood coming over and the way he was off the field and helped was brilliant.
“He was a class player on the field but it was more what he offered off the field.
“Yes, it would be nice to come and average 50 and a strike rate of 200 but those tournaments don’t come too often. Yes, it is about trying to win games for the team.
“That’s what you are paid to do, but it is also about adding to the environment and the group and I think I’ve done that as best as I can.”
As for the possibility of returning to the Rapids next summer, Munro said:
“Who knows? There is a lot of water under the bridge and a lot of time before next year.
“But, if the offer is there, it’s always nice to come back for a second year, and consecutive years, you can try and add value, especially now with a reset for us next year as long as this group can learn.
“We have to try and learn every single game, and it’s about taking personal responsibility for that. If the opportunity comes next year to come back, I’d love it. My family love it here.”
In the immediate future, Munro has a busy schedule after a short break from action.
He said: “I’ve got a whole month at home now, spend some time with the family. It’s the winter but I’ll rest up and train and then come back for The Hundred.
“I then go straight to the Caribbean Premier League, and then I’ll put my feet up for a couple of weeks and then who knows? Big Bash or whatever.”