WORCESTERSHIRE skipper Joe Leach has urged his team to embrace the tag as ‘favourites’ as the Pears look for success in all three formats of the game this summer.
The Pears are among the favourites to be promoted from the second tier of the County Championship while last year’s success in the Vitality Blast and runs to the semi-finals in the Royal London One Day Cup in both 2017 and 2018 have made the New Road outfit a force to be recognised in white ball cricket.
And the all-rounder claims the Pears have nothing to fear from shedding an underdog tag Leach himself admitted he was ‘fed up’ hearing applied to his side.
“We’ve worked hard to get into this position so let’s embrace it. I’m fed up of being called underdogs as that’s what we have been called for most of my career,” he said.
“It’s nice to be sat here as the guys to be shot at. It’s a unique challenge and a different one to what we as a group are used to and it’s nice to be playing under that pressure.
“It’s great for the fans to come and see what is a good side now and fingers crossed we can do our best to defend the Vitality Blast trophy and go deep in the one day cup.”
The 28-year-old was forced to watch the Rapids’ T20 triumph on Finals Day from the sidelines after missing a large chunk of the summer with a stress fracture in his back.
Leach said he hadn’t put a timeframe on his return but said he was desperate to get back out in the middle after a ‘long’ 10-month break.
The Pears captain said he was delighted with the squad assembled for the new campaign and hoped the experiences of the past few years would aid the club’s quest for success.
“You always feel worried saying you have the perfect blend but we have that nice mix of young lads and that little bit of experience and know-how, hopefully that will stand us in good stead,” he said.
“I think we are probably the envy of the country in terms of our fast bowling stock. We’ve pace, height, swing and consistency and its good these guys will push each other to stay in the side.
“That’s what good sides have – competition for places and the emphasis is on the younger guys to make sure they provide that.”