12th Aug, 2020

Pears aim to shine in short season

Liam Moakes 7th Jul, 2020

WORCESTERSHIRE will take to the field for as many as six Championship fixtures and ten Vitality Blast games this summer after English cricket chiefs agreed on a vastly reduced fixture list.

Pears chairman Fanos Hira was among the 18 first class chairmen to approve a revised summer programme of both red-ball and white-ball cricket in a meeting with the ECB on Tuesday.

Counties now look set to play five regional Championship games before a four-day final at Lord’s at the end of September to decide this year’s champion county.

The agreement by the counties will be passed on for ECB approval in the coming days, after which the details of the new fixture schedule will be drawn up.

It’s expected the four-day game will make up much of August while September will be devoted to the Vitality Blast which will again be played in a regional format and not the North or South group format of recent years.

In a statement, the First Class Counties (FCCs) said: “The safety and well-being of all players, staff and officials remains the priority of the ECB and all FCCs will undergo further medical risk assessments and venue compliance approval as planning progresses to ensure safe environments for the start of the men’s domestic season.”

Kiwi Hamish Rutherford is returning to Worcestershire Rapids as their 2020 overseas player in the Vitality Blast and will be available for the entire T20 tournament which the Rapids won in 2018 and were runners-up in 12 months later.

Rutherford experienced a successful first spell at Blackfinch New Road during 2019 and became only the second player to score a century on First Class and List A debut for Worcestershire.

Rutherford, the son of former Black Caps captain Ken Rutherford, had been originally scheduled to play the entire 2020 season for Worcestershire before the impact of COVID-19 delayed the campaign.

Worcestershire have also signed leading Gloucestershire batsman Gareth Roderick on a three-year contract in a deal which starts this November as the county continue to strengthen their top order.

He said: “I’m very excited to be joining Worcestershire. When I spoke to Alex (head coach Alex Gidman) and he explained the kind of path he wants to take Worcestershire on in the next five years, it became an exciting project to tie myself to.

“Once I had a look around and heard what is going on behind the scenes, it was a very appealing place to join. It looks like there are going to be big things happening in the next few years and to jump on that train and join everyone in that journey is really exciting.”

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