Head Coach Alan Richardson says Worcestershire will continue to focus solely on their own performances as the battle to be promoted from Division Two of the LV=Insurance County Championship reaches its climax.
Worcestershire begin their penultimate match of the campaign against already promoted Durham at New Road on Tuesday holding a 21-point advantage over third placed Leicestershire.
They have announced a 13 strong squad – the players in action during the win over Glamorgan plus Ben Gibbon and Josh Baker – as they look to continue the form which has earned them three successive Championship victories.
Richardson said: “It’s nice to have our destiny in own hands. It’s something we’ve aspired to, and set ourselves a goal, to give ourselves a chance to get promoted.
“To put ourselves in this situation, we should be very happy with where we are at, but knowing there are two games still to go.
“We’ve not really paid any attention to anyone else’s results along the way so I don’t think we will start doing that now either.
“Although it sounds very cliché, just concentrate on our own performances and make sure we prepare as well as we can.
“I’m sure a lot of people will be aware of what is going on at other games, and we are not going to hide away from that, but we won’t be doing ourselves any favours if that distracts us from what we are trying to do.”
Worcestershire will return to action after a fortnight’s break since the home success over Glamorgan.
Richardson said: “I hope all the players are refreshed. A few of the guys went off to play second team cricket at Taunton Vale and the rest of the guys, got quite a bit of physical work done.
“Thankfully, we had two dryish days at New Road on Thursday and Friday, and we managed to get some really good practice in.
“I think it’s just finding that balance between giving ourselves a bit of time away but also not going away from it completely.
“We have put some miles back in the legs for the bowlers, and some time at the crease for the batters, and quite a bit of fielding as well.”
Worcestershire were edged out when they took on Durham at the Emirates Riverside in April after Club Captain Brett D’Oliveira declared behind to try and obtain a positive result from a game heading for a draw.
Richardson said: “People seem to think the season has gone really quickly but it doesn’t feel the case if I’m honest. It does feel like a while ago since that Durham game!
“We went from winning at Derby and we put in a really good performance then at Durham. We gave ourselves an opportunity to try and win the game by declaring behind and unfortunately it didn’t quite come off.
“But we should take great heart from that. Durham have played some excellent cricket throughout the season, and thoroughly deserve to be where they are at, and it will be a good barometer to see where we are at.
“We’ve played really good cricket in the last three Championship games although they seem to have been spread over a hell of a long time! But we don’t need to try and reinvent how we go about playing our cricket.”
The positive attitude adopted at Durham has been evident in Worcestershire’s approach throughout the season.
Richardson said: “I think that’s been the case in all the cricket, and it’s not about being reckless.
“Dolly has always talked about going out and trying to win the game first and foremost and we’ve shown some really good resilience, character and spirit to do that quite a few times.
“We’ve had to hold on a couple of other times, but it’s always been with the intention to go out and try and win. That won’t change going into these last two games.”
Haynes suffered a knock to his thumb whilst fielding during the Seconds fixture at Taunton Vale.
Richardson said: “We will wait and see how he pulls up, but he trained on Friday and I think it has shown some considerable improvement. After the weekend, and training again on Monday, we will see where we are at with him.”
Adam Finch and Matthew Waite remain unavailable as they continue their recovery from injury.
Gareth Roderick (w)
Brett D’Oliveira (c)
Logan van Beek