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22nd Sep, 2021

Pears could look overseas in spinner search

Rob George 29th Oct, 2020

PEARS chiefs have revealed they are in the market for a spin bowler ahead of the 2021 campaign and would consider an overseas star to fill the role.

Worcestershire CCC chairman Fanos Hira outlined the plans in an update to members last Wednesday (October 21) and revealed the club had suffered a ‘stark’ £1.8m loss in anticipated commercial revenues but saved £500,000 thanks to the Government’s furlough scheme.

After the release of Ben Twohig, Brett D’Oliveira is the only recognised spinner at New Road, with Moeen Ali expected to miss much of next summer through England and franchise cricket duties.

And with English spinners such as Dom Bess and Matt Critchley having signed deals for 2021, Worcestershire may need to look overseas for a front-line spin bowler.

Test aces Ravi Ashwin and Nathan Lyon have appeared for the county in recent years while Mitchell Santner’s all-round talents could again prove attractive.

However, with the continued uncertainty over international cricket during the Coronavirus pandemic and the ICC’s programme of test cricket for the next 12 months, it’s likely any spinner may only be available for part of next summer.

Hira said the club’s Cricket Steering Group had acknowledged white-ball performances were below the level expected in 2020, with Worcestershire failing to make it to the latter stages of the Blast for the first time in three years.

He also confirmed Wayne Parnell’s three-year Kolpak deal has been terminated a year early with Britain’s imminent departure from the European Union bringing an end to the system in this country.

The South African left-arm seamer signed a three-year deal with the club at the end of the 2018 season, having spent that summer at New Road as an overseas player.

He took 22 wickets in Worcestershire’s run to the Royal London One-Day Cup quarter-finals in 2019 and was a key cog in the T20 side that won the tournament in 2018 and fell at the final hurdle looking to defend their Blast title in 2019. International travel restrictions left him unable to play this season.

Hira said he expects supporters to be allowed back into New Road next summer, subject to Government guidelines.

“The club feel they are in a strong position to operate within any guidelines following the success of hosting Pakistan men’s national team in a bio-secure bubble in June,” said Hira.

“Our current working assumption is we will be able to operate at 50 per cent capacity with members only.”

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