THREE young guns have been given a chance to shine in Worcestershire’s LV= County Championship Division Two season-opener at Hampshire, starting tomorrow (11am).
Talented trio Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Charlie Morris and Chris Russell are all in Steve Rhodes’ 12-man squad for the trip to the Ageas Bowl and the New Road chief is backing his hot prospects to shine this term.
Former Malvern College pupil Kohler-Cadmore, 19, broke a host of records in schoolboy cricket, while Hereford-born Morris, 21, is highly-rated and Russell, 25, has been showing promising form in pre-season.
Director of cricket Rhodes said: “From my own days as a player, you set out to win every game of cricket you play in, whatever the format, and that has always been my attitude.
“Because of that, I put all the competitions, trophies and promotion on an equal importance, but I don’t want to try to predict how we will be doing come September because it is a bit unfair and could put extra pressure on what is a young and inexperienced squad.
“Having said that, I will add there is some real talent coming through and we have to keep generating good, young players, but it would be wrong of me to put too much pressure on those guys.
“I would rather be a side that comes up on the rails – a bit like we were last year when we beat some very good teams – and challenges come the end of the season.
“In many ways, we are not expected to do very well and I think that is a fantastic position to be in because we will be a lot better than people are expecting.”
Rhodes added: “Chris has taken wickets in the games he has played in. He has been bowling really well and we’re starting to see the player who impressed against South Africa a couple of years ago.
“Hopefully, we will see that early season, while Charlie also impressed everyone in Abu Dhabi.
“He is a very steady performer who has a great attitude and I’m sure he’ll do well.
“Jack Shantry and Gareth Andrew are now two of the senior bowlers and it’s time for them to stand up – I’m sure they will. Jack is a great guy to coach because he is such a determined character and a real fighter out on the field.
“If you think of Jack over the previous few years, he has been one of our one-day specialists, but he has fought his way into the four-day side and I’m confident he’ll do well in all formats.”
For the hosts, Will Smith and Joe Gatting are poised to make their competitive Hampshire debuts after signing from Durham and Sussex respectively.
Seamer James Tomlinson is just one wicket away from 300 first-class dismissals for the club.
Worcestershire (from): Mitchell, Pardoe, Moeen, Kohler-Cadmore, Kervezee, Whiteley, Cox, Andrew, Shantry, Morris, Russell, Choudhry.
Hampshire (from): Smith, Adams, Gatting, Ervine, Dawson, Brathwaite, Vince, Carberry, Tomlinson, Coles, Wheater, Balcombe.