CURRENT Worcestershire CCC chief executive David Leatherdale has paid tribute to his former team-mate for his work behind the scenes.
While Steve Rhodes made the transition from player to coach, Leatherdale swapped whites for a shirt and tie to become the club’s chief executive.
But much of the playing culture established while the pair where on the field has been carried over into the new generation, according to Leatherdale.
“Was it strange adapting from being a player to being the boss? It was difficult in the first year or so,” he said.
“You are still very much a player and you are playing with guys and then you are in charge of them and looking after them.
“He is still close to the team and has got a huge amount of respect and the sort of disciplines that Bumpy had in his cricket as a player have carried on off the pitch with what he wants the lads to work on and what he terms and we term ‘The Worcestershire Way.’
“People thought ‘should there have been a break’ (before he took over) but I think it has been proved now that it has been a good decision and we all know Bumpy’s work ethic is second to none and long may it continue.”
Rhodes had to contend with his cricket budget being reduced in the aftermath of the 2007 summer floods at New Road and the exodus of senior players in 2009 but now the green shoots of his decision to put more accent on youth are being seen in the current crop of players.
“It is 30 years that he has been here — player, man and boy,” said Leatherdale, referring to the fact that Yorkshireman Rhodes joined Worcestershire as a player in 1985.
“It’s pretty common knowledge that our players’ budgets are certainly not by any means the greatest out of the 18 counties and generally sit in the bottom third.
“Bumpy deserves a huge amount of credit for the time and effort that he puts in — and the rest of the coaching staff — in order to try and keep us at the highest level we can be with not the greatest budgets in the world.”
“People don’t see a lot of the work that goes on, like the seven o’clock starts at Malvern College in the winter for training sessions.
“The structure of cricket, it’s a seven day of week set-up and in the winter time as well now, with guys on 12 months a year contract.
“Steve is adamant that there is a top to bottom approach and you will see him at Malvern College at seven in the morning before school starts with some of the scholarship lads.
“Members and spectators will see him here at the ground at lunch-times with wicket-keepers, starting with Ben Cox, Joe Clarke and Alex Milton, who is with the MCC Young Cricketers,” he added