Alan Richardson paid tribute to Worcestershire’s “fantastic team spirit” after he had bowled them to the brink of safety in the County Championship first division.
The veteran seamer took six for 22, his best figures for Worcestershire, which also put a huge hole in Lancashire’s title challenge as they were trounced by ten wickets in a day-and-a-half at New Road.
Richardson, 36, now has 62 wickets this season, his best haul of a career that began with Derbyshire in 1995 and he is enjoying life with his fourth county after previous stints with Warwickshire and Middlesex.
“The team spirit is fantastic. It is the best changing room I have been in,” Richardson said. “Everyone is happy for everyone else’s success and that is quite rare sometimes.”
Richardson took 55 wickets in his first season at New Road and helped Worcestershire win promotion last year. Worcestershire have used Richardson as a four-day specialist, resting him for most of their Twenty20 and one-day matches, which has helped him to prolong his career.
“At Warwickshire I was not always selected so I could not get the run of games I would have liked so it is really good to have the opportunity and I’ve bowled enough overs,” Richardson said.
“I wanted to play as much cricket as I could at the start of the season but the way it has worked out it was decided I would play as much four-day cricket as I could and it would be great to get through the full 16 matches because I’m really loving it.”
Worcestershire have two games remaining, Sussex at New Road next week followed by a trip to Durham, and safety is now within sight for a side that started the season as odds-on favourites to go straight back down.
“The other results are not in our hands. We have not set ourselves any targets other than to get as many points as we can, exactly as we did in April,” he said.
“All we have talked about is putting ourselves in a position where we are in charge and if we get enough points it won’t matter what anyone else does and we are in that position. Everyone is fighting for their lives at the bottom but if we can just swing a couple of good results we will be all right.
“It is tough to say whether we are in a false position but we wanted to be as competitive as possible and apart from in a couple of games we really have been competitive.
“We have surprised some people, given some teams a bit of a fright and we have scraped together four wins. The fact that we are two games from the end and not in the relegation zone is a reflection of how well we have played.”