Thursday, April 4th, 2024


Alan Richardson believes Worcestershire should be aiming for a top six spot in Division One of the Vitality County Championship as they prepare for Friday’s derby opener against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.

Head Coach Richardson says Worcestershire are not entering the top flight with just the objective of trying to stay up.

Richardson feels the commitment, hard work and team spirit which were so prevalent last summer will again be crucial factors in the battle to build on gaining promotion from Division Two.

Batter Rob Jones is poised to make his Championship debut for Worcestershire after last season’s loan spell and overseas duo Jason Holder and Nathan Smith their full debuts for the County.

The match preview is brought to you by JPM Broking Services.

Richardson said: “I wouldn’t say we are here just to not be relegated. For us, we should be aiming to try and finish in the top six.

“It’s a nice stretch call for us, we know there are a lot of good sides in Division One and we know we are going to have to work incredibly hard to do that and stick together.

“But it is certainly something which we think is attainable for us.

“Last season the objective was to get promoted and then it’s pointless getting here and then not enjoying the journey, whatever that brings to us.

“We are very much in control of a lot of that as well and how we go about it, the spirit that we show, and being selfless cricketers and together as a team is going to hugely important.

“If we do that as well as we did last year, then we will give ourselves a chance but we know there are going to be some challenges ahead, just like there were last year.

“We faced challenges on the park last year as well in playing some really good sides and we got ourselves in some tricky situations, and we came out of them more often than not.

“No doubt that will happen again, that’s part and parcel of playing cricket and why we play the sport really.

“We are going to experience those ups and downs like last year. One of the real important things is sticking together throughout all of that.

“Dolly (Brett D’Oliveira) is huge on that, and very good on that, and he exudes that a lot. For the players to follow that, shouldn’t be too difficult.”

Richardson says the dynamics of the Worcestershire squad have changed and they now have a core group of more experienced players but who are still hungry to succeed.

Worcestershire now have almost a dozen players aged between 25 and 33 who they can call upon for the County Championship during this summer.

They include new signings in all-rounder Tom Taylor (29) and Jones (28) plus Smith (25), and Holder (32).

But there is also plenty of young and up and coming talent to supplement the more senior group with the likes of spinner Josh Baker (20), another newcomer in all-rounder Ethan Brookes (22), and pace duo Adam Finch (23) and Ben Gibbon (23).

Richardson said: “We’ve probably changed the dynamics a little bit from where we were a young squad.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who are now very similar ages.

“Myself and Ash (CEO Ashley Giles), were adamant about having a real good strong core of players who are all a good age and gaining more and more experience and feel like they are very hungry to do well, which is really important.

“The dynamic of the squad has probably changed a little bit from being a bit younger to a lot of guys who have stayed together, and played a lot of cricket together over the last three or four years

“The acquisitions of Tom Taylor, Rob Jones and Matthew Waite, who are all a similar age, has probably just given us that little bit more experience, but we’ve still got guys who are desperate to do well and who are hungry to keep evolving their game.”

Worcestershire have named a 15 strong squad for the Warwickshire fixture.

 Jake Libby
Gareth Roderick (w)
Kashif Ali
Rob Jones
Adam Hose
Brett D’Oliveira (c)
Jason Holder
Matthew Waite
Nathan Smith
Joe Leach
Adam Finch
Ethan Brookes
Ed Pollock
Josh Baker
Harry Darley