Worcestershire Members had a close-up of players and coaches working on their white-ball skills ahead of the Vitality Blast during a three-hour opening training session at New Road today.
Members were able to watch players practice the kind of qualities needed for the T20 competition which gets underway next month.
They have been full of praise for the initiative, which was the brainchild of Head Coach Alan Richardson, who has constantly spoken of the desire to interact with Members as often as possible.
New signing Adam Hose, one of the top scorers in the Blast last summer, demonstrated his long-range hitting, which also made him a big success in the Big Bash League this winter.
Ed Pollock and Jack Haynes were amongst those who also showed their power with the bat as several balls disappeared over the Basil D’Oliveira Stand!
In addition, Members could listen to and ask questions of several Worcestershire players and officials, including Alan Richardson, Cricket Steering Group Chair Paul Pridgeon, Assistant Coach Richard Jones, Academy Coach Elliot Wilson, Azhar Ali, Ed Pollock and former Worcestershire captain Phil Neale.
Alan Richardson said: “It was a successful morning despite the weather, just a great opportunity to get the guys out there, practicing some white ball skills and to get the members involved.
“I hope the members enjoyed it and just thought it was a really good opportunity for them to get some insight into how we work.
“It was an opportunity because we had the ‘bye’ week, so just to try and refresh the boys with some white ball cricket but also to show the members the sort of work we do as coaches, but also the hard work the players put in.
“The basics still stay the same, the fundamentals of the game, but obviously, the tempo changes a bit in white ball cricket.
“We did quite a bit of range hitting, with the boys trying to hit sixes and just trying to have some intent in their game.”
Richardson hopes the opportunity will arise for a similar venture later in the summer.
He said: “Any plans to do anything similar in the future? We will have to see. Hopefully, we might get an opportunity later on in the season, maybe during the summer, an opportunity maybe for the kids to come along in the school holidays.
“It would be nice to have that opportunity.”
Worcestershire Supporters’ Association Chair and lifelong Worcestershire supporter Andrew Jenkins, praised the club’s initiative in allowing members to see how the players prepare.
He said: “Most people will only see the team in action on match days but this was a great opportunity to watch how they utilise they utilise their skills in practice.
“There was some tremendous range hitting towards the Basil D’Oliveira Stand from the net on the wicket used for the game against Gloucestershire by people like Adam Hose and Jack Haynes.
“It was also interesting to see the ‘Merlin’ spin bowling machine in the net area, and Ben Cox was playing the reverse sweep against it really well.
“All the players and coaches were happy and keen to interact with the members, and I was interested in the tactics and philosophy in preparing for the Vitality Blast.
“Azhar Ali spoke very well and said he was willing to help anyone who asked for advice, and he came across as a genuine bloke and a perfect overseas player.
“Paul Pridgeon, Alan Richardson, Richard Jones, Ed Pollock, Elliot Wilson, and Phil Neale also all came and spoke to the members who were also able to ask them questions.
“It was a superb exercise and another example of the club’s intention to interact closely with members. Well done Worcestershire.”
Another member in Kieron Weatherstone also enjoyed the experience.
He said: “Just wanted to say a huge thanks to the club for organising this event. I found it fascinating to see in close-up how the players practice, and the input from coaches, players and former players provided an insight into the purpose of each of the drills.
“The fact that it was so interactive made it really enjoyable. I hope that the club will repeat it again in the future when hopefully more members will take advantage of such a unique opportunity.
“Oh – and can’t Adam Hose just hit it miles !!!”