Familiar problems for Rhodes and Worcestershire

Worcestershire’s director of cricket Steve Rhodes has identified the familiar shortcomings of too few runs and insufficient back-up for seamer Alan Richardson for the defeat by Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in their opening County Championship match.

After bowling out Nottinghamshire for 118 on the first day, Worcestershire were unable to capitalise as they were dismissed for 130 themselves and then frustrated by a second innings century from Riki Wessels.

Richardson, who took 73 wickets last season, fought a lone hand with five second innings wickets before skipper Daryl Mitchell, who made his first century in two years, and Moeen Ali shared a third wicket stand of 174 in Worcestershire’s spirited run-chase.

“It was a good effort to bowl them out on the first day but I don’t think we capitalised on it with the bat. “I thought they bowled and fought back really well. Credit to Notts for their fightback,” Rhodes said.

“If you look at the three disciplines which we always tend to do to pick the pieces of whether we have gone right or wrong then we have only had two guys get 50 in 22 guys going to the crease.

“That’s a little bit disappointing on the batting front. We are looking to get at least four or five guys with runs to do well in a game.

“Added to that with the ball Alan Richardson was very good once again but on that second day when we needed to make inroads, of the four seamers he was probably the only one who really came to the party.

“If we had taken our chances in the field on that day, when we dropped a couple of chances, it could have been a different game. Ultimately we were not quite on our A Game and I think it showed. We came second best and Notts deserved their win.”

Moeen’s dismissal, caught behind for 94, on the third evening also proved a turning point as it came just before the second new ball was due. From wondering where their next wicket was coming from, Nottinghamshire took four for 18 and Worcestershire’s victory chances had disappeared.

“He [Moeen] was a little bit loose. He had played ever so well, but he knows that and we have spoken about it,” Rhodes added.

“We have identified very important times when you are batting. There’s never a good time to get out batting. There was a new ball coming up and it was crucial that Moeen and Daryl were together with the new ball rather than new guys going in to bat and exposing them a little bit. But that’s what happened and it cost us four for 18.”

Worcestershire’s batsmen will have the chance to find form this week as all of them will play in the first-class friendly against Oxford MCCU in The Parks which starts on April 13.

“Even if they had scored more runs than they scored at Nottingham we had already made the decision to play the batsmen because the last thing we wanted to do was to halt their form. We wanted to keep it going,” Rhodes said.

Worcestershire will rest Richardson and probably also fellow seamer David Lucas which will give a chance to Jack Shantry, who was twelfth man at Trent Bridge. Nick Harrison, a 22-year-old seamer from Bath who played four one-day matches last season, is likely to come into consideration for a first-class debut.

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