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Rhodes calls for a double
8:00am Wednesday 11th September 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
DIRECTOR of cricket Steve Rhodes wants Worcestershire to show some pride in performance and win their final two games of the season.
With the County’s hopes of promotion from LV= County Championship Division Two now over, today’s match against Hampshire at New Road (10.30am) is nothing more than a dead rubber.
But the New Road side can still finish third in the table and Rhodes has named a 14-man squad for the visit of the seventh-placed strugglers.
Graeme Cessford, Chris Russell, Alexei Kervezee and Thilan Samaraweera have all been added to the squad that lost to Essex by eight wickets last week, while David Lucas drops out.
“We are going to have a look at the wicket and take it from there,” Rhodes said.
“We are looking for two wins, we don’t play to draw or lose.
“There’s a lot of pride to play for and we are a very proud club. We are proud of what we achieve and all we can achieve is two wins.”
Cessford last featured in the nine-wicket victory over Leicestershire but Russell hasn’t played since the end of July because of injury.
Samaraweera, who scored 144 not out against Leicestershire, returns following a hand injury but Kervezee has not played a four-day game since the six-wicket defeat to Gloucestershire in mid-July.
That defeat at Cheltenham is one of two matches Rhodes sees as having played a major part in his side’s failure to keep the pressure on the league leaders — the other being the recent Essex defeat.
On both occasions, Worcestershire won the toss and batted first but were unable to post competitive totals.
“I think there have been a couple of crucial games where we would have liked to have picked up points,” said the New Road chief.
“I think we can look back and see some areas where we would have liked to have been better.
“Cheltenham and Chelmsford spring to mind where we won the toss on wickets where it was important to do so to get a score and win the game.
“But the way we batted at the start meant we were playing catch-up cricket. They were crucial games.”
Today’s match is also the first fixture for which the County’s new £10million facilities, which include executive and conferencing areas and club offices, will be open to the public.
Rhodes added: “We have got some terrific facilities and now that the seats are in it looks a picture.
“We can’t wait to get the hotel finished because it’s going to be a beautiful corner of the ground.”
Worcestershire (from): Mitchell, Pardoe, Moeen, Fell, Kervezee, Leach, Samaraweera, Whiteley, Cox, Choudhry, Shantry, Cessford, Richardson, Russell.
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