Magician Saeed moves up to top of the pile

Tewkesbury Admag: Magician Saeed moves up to top of the pile Magician Saeed moves up to top of the pile

SAEED Ajmal is the leading wicket-taker in the country after the completion of the latest round of matches in the LV= County Championship.

The Worcestershire spin star’s 6-19 on the final day of the win over Leicestershire at Grace Road took his tally for the season to 44 in seven matches.

Saeed is seven ahead of Sussex’s former Worcestershire paceman Steve Magoffin, who has 37 victims from eight games.

Worcestershire left-armer Jack Shantry and his new ball partner Charlie Morris also feature in the top 20 wicket-takers with 32 and 26 respectively.

The County’s captain, Daryl Mitchell, is the second highest run-getter in the Championship with 920 at an average of 92.00 including four centuries.

Alexei Kervezee is Worcestershire’s other batsman to have topped 500 runs so far this summer at an average of 42.25.

Worcestershire do not feature in the next round of games, which started yesterday, and will next be in four-day action against Glamorgan at New Road from Sunday.

Meanwhile, Steve Rhodes confirmed Gareth Andrew could make his bowling comeback for the Second XI this week, with a view to making himself available as an all-rounder for Friday’s home NatWest T20 Blast clash with Nottinghamshire Outlaws.

Andrew had his first bowl at New Road on Friday since suffering a back injury after picking up 20 wickets in the opening four LV= County Championship matches of the campaign.

The 30-year-old played purely as a batsman in the T20 Blast win over Durham, making a crucial 20 off 12 balls, and has adopted the same role when captaining the Seconds in two matches against Glamorgan at Kidderminster.

Director of cricket Rhodes admitted he was nearly tempted to play Andrew as a batsman in the win over Birmingham Bears but insists he will have a role to play at some stage of the T20 Blast programme.

Rhodes said: “Gareth had his first bowl on Friday. We sort of picked the side going into the Bears game because that side won up at Derbyshire and has been successful.

“We wanted to play Brett D’Oliveira and Tom Kohler-Cadmore and all the others, but I woke up wanting to play Gareth as a batter mainly because his form against Warwickshire in 20 over cricket is very good.

“I know they fear him and I thought possibly the stage was right but, when we looked long and hard at the side, we couldn’t get him in which is testament to the other lads who’ve played so well.”

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