WORCESTERSHIRE’S director of cricket Steve ‘Bumpy’ Rhodes has recently celebrated a decade in the New Road hotseat.
The popular former Pears wicketkeeper spoke to The Observer’s Rob George and looked back at the past 10 years.
How does it feel to have reached 10 years as director of cricket?
“It’s been a roller-coaster coaching career in many ways, from when I first started when Tom Moody was head coach and I assisted him.
“He left for Sri Lanka and I took over. I went very quickly out of the dressing room and into the coaches room and in charge.
“It wasn’t easy but slowly I have been getting to grips with it! What is nice about having 10 years here is I have had the opportunity and chance to help develop some good young players.
“I think our structure is good, the way we try and develop our own players and it’s showing in what we are producing and that is very rewarding.”
How has the job evolved over the past decade?
“We are all trying our very best to eke out every bit of professionalism we can.
“The game is far more professional than even 10 years ago, meaning we have to be far more professional than 10 years ago.”
What stands out as highlights during your time as director of cricket?
“I think 2007 when we won the 40-over one-day trophy down at Bristol, really does stand out as a great match but good to win for the supporters and members.
“Gloucestershire got a good score and we needed to beat them. Moeen Ali and Steve Davies rolled their sleeves up and put on a magnificent stand and won the game for us.
“That really stands out but one of the best performances was when we stayed up in Division One in 2011.
“It was a hell of a challenge to stay up on the budgets we have so it was a great effort.
You have attracted some quality overseas signings during your time at the helm. Why do you think this is?
“They know playing your cricket at Worcester is good fun, very relaxed and that has to be an attraction.”
Players such as Moeen Ali are now being recognised with international call-ups. Is this recognition of your hard work?
“When players do end up playing for England like Moeen then masses of the work has been done by the player themselves.
“But he has had help along the way, I’m very proud of our coaches and support teams and how they go about developing players and to see Moeen represent his country is the icing on the cake really.
“It’s something we all want to happen and hopefully there will be a few more that can make that journey and start playing for England.”
What aspirations do you have both personally and for Worcestershire in the years ahead?
“I’m doing this job because I passionately want this club to be successful and in this modern day and age when there is such big differences in finance between one club and another the only way we can do that is to develop and grow our best young talent.
“We are starting to do that as you can see. It’s tough but we’re on the path to achieving that we know where we are going.
“Sometimes we go backwards but we certainly feel the progress we are making and the quality of the young players coming through means if we can stick together and keep marching we will get there.”