WORCESTERSHIRE head coach Kevin Sharp says spinner Ben Twohig has deserved his place in the senior squad during the opening phase of the season.

The ex-Malvern College pupil has impressed Sharp and his fellow coaches during the winter and pre-season programme which included a six-week stint in India.

Twohig, who celebrated his 20th birthday last Friday, was set to make his first-class debut in the match with Leeds-Bradford MCCU only for it to be washed out.

He was then in the 13-man squad for the County Championship Division One opener with Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

Twohig has been playing for the seconds against Somerset at Taunton Vale this week.

But the Dewsbury-born player will again be part of the first-team squad for the Championship match between the two counties starting on Friday.

Sharp said: “Ben has always been impressive. He is a developing, young cricketer. He bowls nicely and has had some good support from Norman (Gifford) over the last few years.

“He has come through the academy and is progressing. He has impressed in pre-season and we included him in a squad of 13 for Hampshire and he will be involved also against Somerset.

“It was always unlikely at this time of year, especially with the damp conditions, that he was going to play at the Ageas Bowl. However, he has deserved to be in the squad.”

Sharp agrees with County legend Gifford’s assessment that spinners in particular can take several years to mature.

He said: “Even from a batting perspective, players don’t always reach maturity until they are in their mid-20s or even a bit longer.

“Ben is 20 and what we have to be careful of these days is not judging people too early.

“He is a young spin bowler learning his trade and it may take some time before he fully blossoms and we have to understand that.

“But being in the squad has given him a lot of confidence to kick on. He has not really been around the first-team squad before. This is the first time he has had some official involvement.”