2:00pm Monday 14th July 2014
WORCESTERSHIRE director of cricket Steve Rhodes has praised the contribution and improvement with the ball of all-rounder Joe Leach this season.
Leach made his first major breakthrough for the county last season as a batsman with a maiden LV= County Championship century against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham.
But this season he has become a key member of the seam attack since an injury to Gareth Andrew enabled him to join the Jack Shantry-Charlie Morris combination, while spinner Saeed Ajmal has been outstanding at the other end.
The seam-bowling trio have helped Worcestershire overcome the loss of Alan Richardson and helped extend the county’s record of matches where they have secured maximum bowling points to 22 on the trot.
Rhodes said: “Saeed has been outstanding for us this year and when he does leave, he will be missed, of course he will, but it’s not just a one-man show.
“People might be surprised at that comment, but our seamers have performed admirably this year, including Gareth at the start of the year when he was fit.
“There have been four seamers who have bowled the majority of the overs for us and all four have done really, really well.
“Richo (Richardson) bowled a hell of a lot of overs for us and often other people didn’t get the chance to bowl.
“He bowled them really well and was an absolutely quality performer, but his departure meant an opportunity for others.
“The likes of Gareth and Jack have stood up and matured and grown a little bit more in the way that they have been bowling.
“Charlie Morris as a youngster in his first full season has been exceptional opening the bowling, but possibly the most-improved seamer has been Joe.
“He’s come in, replaced Gareth in the side, which is not an easy thing to do, especially with Gareth having bowled so well at the start of the year, but he has been outstanding in joining the trio of seam bowlers and bowling well as a unit.”
Meanwhile, opener Richard Oliver’s return to form in NatWest T20 Blast cricket means Worcestershire Rapids now have three batsmen who have topped the 200-run mark in this season’s competition.
Oliver’s impressive 44 in the home clash with Lancashire Lightning saw him join skipper Daryl Mitchell and New Zealander Colin Munro in breaking the 200-run barrier.
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