14th May, 2021

Leach: Dropping down the order shows batting strength

Rob George 26th Apr, 2021

PEARS skipper Joe Leach admits he is a reluctant number ten in the current Worcestershire CCC line-up but says it is a sign of the strength in depth the county possess in their batting order.

Leach has dropped down one spot to accommodate West Indies all-rounder Alzarri Joseph who showed his pedigree with a fine 61 on day two of the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Nottinghamshire at New Road.

But Leach then demonstrated his quality with a fine 84 containing four sixes as the lower order came to the rescue as Worcestershire recovered from 216-7 to total 436 all out and collect four batting bonus points.

With number eight Ed Barnard also scoring a fine half-century, it was more evidence that Worcestershire bat a long way down.

Leach said: “Alzarri has batted at number eight for the West Indies over the past few games and has got two 80s in Test cricket before coming here.

“We just felt with his pedigree he could slot in front of me. Obviously, batting that low from a personal point of view is not something I want to do.

“But the flip side of that is it is good for the side if we’ve got that length of batting order.

“It’s about the guys at the bottom putting pressure on the guys above them and consistently making scores.”

Leach looked to be in with the chance to register the third century of his career before he was caught at first slip off-spinner Liam Patterson-White.

He said: “Batting where I am now, it is not something (the chance of a century) I always get an opportunity to do.

“I’ve had a few fifties in recent times, and it was nice to go on and get something slightly bigger and hopefully, I can force my way up the order by just churning out scores.”

On the recovery from 216-7, Leach said: “If we are honest, we needed to. On that pitch, if we had been bowled out for 250, we would have been in a bit of bit of strife.

“I think, if we are honest, we would be slightly disappointed with the position we got ourselves into after the great start Daryl (Mitchell) and Jake (Libby) gave us on day one.

“By hook or by crook, we’ve got ourselves up to somewhere like where we wanted to be, but we as a batting group need to keep churning out the runs.”

Leach was satisfied with the bowlers’ performance in the final session despite being unable to part openers Ben Slater and Haseeb Hameed and wants the same approach on day three.

He said: “It is attritional cricket. It is a pretty good batting wicket at the moment, but hopefully, it dries out even more and, over the next two days, you see the pitch start to misbehave, and we can look to get some wickets.

“Towards the end of our innings, and certainly with the new ball with us, a couple did stay low, and we are just hoping they are straight enough to cause the batsmen some issues.

“I think for us as a bowling unit now, it’s about stringing together as many overs as we can, hitting the stumps and keeping the scoreboard as dry as we can and then making it difficult for new batters as and when they have to start.

“We did well. To get ourselves above 400 puts them under scoreboard pressure going into day three as well, even though they’ve had a good start.

“It is a tough pitch to bowl on, and we’ve bowled as well as we could expect to on that wicket, and it’s about doing that for a long period, and hopefully, if we get a new batsman or two, as we saw in our innings, it is difficult to start.”

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