PEARS chief Alex Gidman has praised the character shown by the Worcestershire CCC players in earning two hard-fought away draws – and says they are relishing a return to LV=Insurance County Championship action at New Road.
Worcestershire now have back to back home Championship fixtures beginning with Nottinghamshire today (Thursday) before they take on Essex next week.
West Indies paceman Alzarri Joseph and batsman Gareth Roderick are set to make their home debuts after being named in an unchanged 12 strong squad.
“Look, it’s been a tough year for everyone but having not been at New Road in pre-season because of the floods, the lads are chomping at the bit to get back. They are looking forward to it,” Gidman said.
“We’ve had a couple of practices there since the beginning of the season, so it will be nice to settle back in at home and get playing there. Notts are a team we hugely respect.
“But having had two really good results away from home and fought hard, I’m sure the lads are really looking forward to it.
“We will fundamentally focus on ourselves and try and get as many points out of the game as possible.”
The county showed the fighting qualities highlighted by Gidman when replying to a formidable Essex total at Chelmsford and then battling through the final two sessions against Derbyshire at Derby.
They have picked up 26 points and are just six points behind Group One leaders Warwickshire.
Gidman said: “The guys aren’t robots. We are going to have days and matches where we don’t quite get it right but, if we can have the tough games and get out of it with a draw and some good bonus points, that is a really good stepping stone.
“We’ve had two tough games away from home, which has been challenging, but I believe the character within the group has been outstanding for these first couple of games, and the boys thoroughly deserved those two draws.
“They worked extremely hard, but, as always, we will look at areas we can improve. The points are crucial, but, for me, it is about playing good cricket over a long period and getting used to doing that.
“The lads are really enjoying playing red-ball cricket and, generally speaking, we’ve been outstanding in the last seven games, including last season.
“We’ve lost one and had to fight hard for a couple of draws, but it just shows the attitude of the group. A few years ago, we would have just chucked the game away (at Derby), but they have come out fighting and with a real purpose to achieve some goals, and they’ve done that.”
Gidman saw some encouraging signs from Joseph, who picked up three wickets and scored a valuable 46 to help earn Worcestershire three batting bonus points at Derby.
He said: “It was always going to be a tough start for Alzarri, having not played for a couple of weeks, having to isolate and not being able to get up to much.
“Understandably, it will take him a few overs to get up to speed, but I think he got better and better as the match at Derby went on.
“There were some glimpses of some serious bowling in there, so looking forward to how he contributes over the next few weeks.
“He also made a huge contribution with the bat in the first innings and is happy and an excellent character to have around.”