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Rhodes axes trio for Bears clash
STEVE Rhodes has taken an axe to his Worcestershire side in a bid to arrest the New Road club’s stuttering four-day form.
The County director of cricket has cut batsman Jimmy Cameron and bowlers Richard Jones and Jack Shantry from his squad to face table-topping local rivals Warwickshire at Edgbaston in the LV= County Championship, starting today (noon).
Rhodes has grown impatient with his side’s poor performances – they have won just once in 10 Division One outings this term – with the innings and 117-run thrashing at Sussex last time out apparently the final straw.
Homegrown youngsters Joe Leach and Chris Russell will be handed their first-class debuts against the Bears.
Either Nick Harrison or Brett D’Oliveira will also make their four-day bow for the club, depending on whether the Edgbaston wicket favours spin or seam.
Worcestershire are one place off the foot of the table but still within touching distance of relegation rivals Surrey and Lancashire with one and two games in hand respectively.
Rhodes said: “The CB40 tie at Middlesex gave us some confidence and will lift the dressing room.
“We have a great set of lads but have to make sure that in this week’s four-day game we really tough it out and compete hard against Warwickshire.
“They are a good side, who are riding high, and we’ll have to be right on our mettle to take them on, but we can do that.
“That is what we need to do though - take them on, go toe-to-toe with a good side and beat them.
“We’ve got a lot of changes this week, which is partly the fall-out from what happened at Sussex, and we are going to shake up the middle order a little bit. Joe is going to come in and we will leave Jimmy out, while a couple of bowlers will change around too with Richard and Jack going out and Chris coming in.
“We’ll probably give Brett his championship debut too, depending on the wicket, but Nick will also be in the 12-man squad. Hopefully, that will give us quite a lot of batting but also a bit of variety to the bowling too.”
Rhodes added: “We have to play as a team with fight and determination because, experience and international class-wise, most teams have got us covered and we have to find other ways of doing well.”
Worcestershire (from): Mitchell (capt), Hughes, Solanki, Moeen, Leach, Pardoe, Andrew, Scott (wkt), Richardson, Russell, Harrison, D’Oliveira.