9:32am Saturday 26th April 2014
DIRECTOR of cricket Steve Rhodes has warned his Worcestershire team not to get carried away with their fine start to the season - despite being strengthened by the arrival of spinner Saeed Ajmal.
The New Road side are second in the embryonic LV= County Championship Division Two table having taken 32 points from their first two games.
A rain-effected draw against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl was followed up with a resounding 125-run victory over Kent at headquarters last week.
Next up is a clash against Derbyshire, who have a draw and defeat to their name from their first two games, starting at New Road tomorrow (11am).
"It's important not to get too carried away," Rhodes said. "You want to start well but the key to any challenge in the Championship is that you maintain some form throughout the season and this is just the start."
However, Rhodes has taken a lot of heart from his players' efforts in the first two matches, which have included 172 not out from captain Daryl Mitchell against Hampshire and Gareth Andrews' eight wickets in the Kent triumph.
The County director of cricket said: "We had the best of the match at Hampshire against a side tipped to finish top of the table so that was rewarding.
"The match against Kent was even more pleasing to get the win. I thought the bowling was impeccable, the discipline from the three seamers was incredible, they didn't bowl a no-ball or wide all match.
"It would have been nice to have carried on. Sometimes you want a break and sometimes you don't and this was one of those occasions when you don't. But it's given us some quality practice time."
Tomorrow's match will also see Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal make his long-awaited debut for Worcestershire.
The 36-year-old, who will be at New Road until mid-July, finally saw his paperwork completed this week to make the move.
Rhodes said: “Saeed is a very special talent, a lovely guy and will be great for our dressing room and it's great that he is returning here for the next three months or so.
“This guy is one of the best bowlers in the world - so for us to pull off a coup in signing him is tremendous.
"Other sides would have desperately loved to have had him. Make no mistake, there will be a lot of jealous counties out there.
“He is top of the tree and he is a very good asset to the club. For his age, his excitement, energy and enjoyment for the game of cricket is quite amazing.”
Saeed had a successful first spell at New Road in 2011, taking 16 wickets in eight Twenty20 appearances including a treble-wicket maiden against Northamptonshire.
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