20th Mar, 2019

Aussie Hastings backed to have same impact as Bichel

Rob George 15th Apr, 2017

WORCESTERSHIRE Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes has compared new overseas star John Hastings to former Pears favourite Andy Bichel.

Bichel followed Australian paceman Glenn McGrath through the doors from 2001 to 2004 and regularly topped the county’s bowling averages.

His big hitting also helped the Pears enjoy success in one day cricket and Rhodes said he had already seen similarities with the arrival of 31-year-old Hastings.

“He reminds me a lot of Andy Bichel who was very successful for us, not just in the way he plays his cricket but how he can contribute in the dressing room,” Rhodes said.

“Bich was a fierce competitor but also a lot of fun and a person who the guys in the dressing room can learn from.

The respected Pears chief has previously spoken of his desire to only attract hungry overseas stars to bolster the New Road dressing room and warmly welcomed Hastings arrival.

“I have a saying that we sign the right people for our bus and John Hastings fits that mould perfectly,” he added.

Rhodes revealed he was encouraged by new captain Joe Leach’s desire for the team to shed the ‘young side’ tag and wasn’t worried about the all-rounder over bowling himself.

“Joe will have people out there to keep an eye on that, Ben Cox behind the sticks knows when it’s time for a spell to come to an end, “ Rhodes said.

“I think the positives about Joe, he’s a real good communicator and a good motivational speaker and we are going to add captaincy things such as tactics.

Worcestershire recorded the same amount of Championship victories as promoted Essex last season which Rhodes said was a positive heading into the new campaign.

“We are just going to try and win games of cricket, if we can do that then our finishing position in the Championship and qualification in the one day formats will take care of itself,” he said.

The 2017 campaign will be the first season with an eight team Division One and an expanded 10 team Division Two, a move strongly opposed by Rhodes.

“I am a person who enjoyed promotion and relegation and an equal system of playing teams home and away,” he said,

“I think it’s messed around with a good competition and certainly devalued Division Two in the sense it’s ok to be asymetical because you’re ‘only Division Two’.”

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