PEARS first team coach Alex Gidman has revealed he believes new signing Jake Libby’s best years lie ahead and he will help provide intense competition for places at the top of the batting order.
The former Nottinghamshire batsman has made clear his desire to open in first class cricket and will fight it out for a spot alongside long-serving Daryl Mitchell and overseas signing Hamish Rutherford.
However, the Pears chief believes the trio could all seal places in the top three of the batting order as Worcestershire go into the 2020 campaign seeking promotion back to cricket’s top flight.
It is the kind of battle for positions Gidman said he was happy to see throughout the side.
He said: “Jake is still pretty young, his best years are ahead of him without a shadow of a doubt, he is a very talented cricketer all-round, and a great fielder.
“But what attracted us most to him was the fact he talks about wanting to open the batting and bat at the top of the order.
“Jake is a very traditional player in red ball cricket. He wants to occupy the crease for long periods of time which is music to all our ears.
“The game hasn’t changed. You still need guys that can do that and he has certainly got the skill set to do that.”
Gidman said Libby’s signature meant a healthy balance of youth and experience as well as healthy competition for places.
“There is potential for various combinations, we could play three openers, but that will Joe’s decision and the beginning of the season is a long way off,” he said.
26-year-old Libby has signed a three-year contract at New Road although Gidman admitted securing his services for 2020 was earlier than anticipated.
“Jake was someone we identified to perhaps have a chat with next year when he was in the last year of his contract,” he said.
“We had a phone call saying he had been given permission to talk to other counties and it was an opportunity we didn’t want to miss.”
Gidman also sees Libby having an important role to play in 50 over and T20 cricket.“
He said: “His white ball numbers are also very good, T20 in particular. I think he played virtually every game except the semi-final last year.
“He is obviously a very talented white ball player as well so this is someone that can play a part in all our formats.
“It is going to be really fun to have him around and watch him join our group and play a pivotal role, I’m sure,” he added.