Thursday, April 18th, 2024

Worcestershire v Durham: Preview & squad news

Worcestershire Head Coach Alan Richardson has stressed the importance of keeping all-rounder Nathan Smith as fresh as possible in dealing with the challenges of a six month county season.

Smith has already made a big impact since his arrival at New Road with 10 wickets in two games and a vital half century against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

The New Zealander came straight from a busy campaign in helping Wellington win the Plunket Shield and finishing as leading wicket-taker.

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Richardson said: “We are going to have to manage Nathan throughout. It’s a hell of an ask for him, for all the players, to play all the games of cricket.

“We understand that’s not possible with him. He’s come off the back of a reasonably busy New Zealand domestic season.

“It’s not as hectic as here but he still played a lot of cricket and we want him to be as impactful as possible.

“Looking forward, we’ve got a bit of a plan about how that looks. That’s very dependent on how much play we have, our own selection issues.

“But with Nathan, of course we will look after him. He’s shown already amazing quality on the field in all three disciplines.

“The run out of Jacob Bethell at Edgbaston last week was a real turning point. His coach back home, Shane Jurgensen, told us he would get us a couple of run-outs and he got us one in the first game.

“We’ve seen his quality in both games with the ball and the impact that he can have.

“He was disappointed last week not to score any runs but his innings this week against Nottinghamshire and his partnerships with Brett D’Oliveira and Joe Leach were huge.”

Richardson says Worcestershire should take great confidence from their opening performances as they prepare to take on Durham in their opening home Vitality County Championship fixture at Kidderminster.

It will also see a return to playing with a Duke ball after two games with the Kookaburra.

He said: “I think the performances have been very strong and that has been the most pleasing thing, certainly for the support staff but also for the players as well.

“We’ve played two very strong sides and acquitted ourselves very well and put ourselves in positions to potentially win both of them.

“We should take great heart and belief from those.

“Kidderminster with a Dukes ball is probably something we are more used to.

“We will see how we go but we are now playing Durham who deservedly won Division Two by quite a length and they played some outstanding cricket last year.”

Worcestershire have named an unchanged 14 strong squad for the Durham game – the 11 players in action at Trent Bridge plus Ed Pollock, Ethan Brookes and Matthew Waite.

Worcestershire squad

2 Jake Libby
6 Matthew Waite
7 Ed Pollock
9 Gareth Roderick (w)
15 Brett D’Oliveira ©
20 Nathan Smith
23 Joe Leach
27 Kashif Ali
33 Josh Baker
54 Adam Hose
61 Adam Finch
77 Ethan Brookes
88 Rob Jones
98 Jason Holder