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  • Wasim's first month

    Friday 30 January 2015

    Leicestershire and Rutland Cricket Chief Executive Wasim Khan MBE has been an extremely busy man and is loving every minute of his new job.

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Buck's spell halts Pears progress

Leicestershire's bowlers showed tremendous character to restrict leaders Worcestershire to 317-9 on the first day of the LV=CC game at New Road.

Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell moved to 1,000 first-class runs for the summer and opening partner Rich Oliver also looked in good touch as the hosts raced to 163-0 after 38 overs.

Once Oliver fell lbw to James Sykes for 78, things started to go pear-shaped for Worcestershire, who were 154-9 in the 61 overs of play that followed as County stuck to their task.

Leading wicket-taker Nathan Buck (17-2-62-3) led the charge by picking up 3-1 in the space of 11 balls in the afternoon session while Sykes also claimed a trio of victims.

Dan Redfern picked up two useful wickets and although Jigar Naik did not end with a wicket to his name, the off-spinner gave Leicestershire some much-needed control in his 31 accurate overs.

Josh Cobb can also be pleased with his day. The captain made intelligent bowling changes, including some end switching, and also kept the batsmen on their toes with field placings that were both unconventional and thoughtful.

There was one change to the side that lost to Kent as Leicestershire opted to play two spinners on a placid pitch, Sykes coming in for all-rounder Ben Raine.

The toss went against the team, and the leaders would have been delighted to bat first with mystery spinner Saeed Ajmal in their line-up for the last time before linking up with Pakistan.

For Ajmal to get the best opportunity to shine, the Pears needed runs on the board and Mitchell and Oliver provided a perfect platform. Seven boundaries arrived as Worcestershire progressed to 51-0 after 12 overs, with Oliver looking particularly strong behind point.

To indicate how sedate the surface was, Sykes (22-2-72-3) had been called into action from the Diglis End to bowl the 11th over. Naik (31-11-80-0) was introduced alongside the slow left armer after an hour's play.

Oliver swept Sykes to the fence before a Mitchell cut off Naik just had enough to kiss the rope. Charlie Shreck (13-4-49-1) came on for a second spell in place of Sykes and Oliver pulled powerfully towards the Ladies' Pavilion to collect another four.

A glance off Naik brought Oliver a further boundary and a drive for two later in the 24th over took the former Shropshire captain to a 63-ball 50. Mitchell cut away for two during that over to take the stand into three figures.

Oliver cut and drove fours in the 25th over and he went on to glance and punch away to record further fours. Mitchell cut for four to register his half-century from the 106th ball faced and he moved into four figures with a single off the last ball before lunch, his 54th of the innings. Worcestershire went in on 133 without loss.

Naik and Sykes bowled in tandem after the interval, and Naik was unfortunate to see Mitchell edge either side of Greg Smith at slip to collect a two and a four. The openers tried to unsettle the slow men; Oliver drove to the ropes and Mitchell struck three fours in the space of seven balls, including two clean hits over mid-on.

Sykes landed a key blow by pinning Oliver lbw on the sweep and that started a purple patch for County, who claimed 6-63 in 25 overs. Tom Fell (18, 50b) twice drove for four but an inspired bowling change did the trick. Redfern (8-1-20-2) had bowled an over before lunch and he returned to find Mitchell's edge with the first ball of his second offering, Niall O'Brien completing the dismissal to end the captain's fine knock of 90 (150b).

A fine bowling partnership developed between Naik and Buck, with the latter bowler unfortunate to see nine scored off two consecutive balls given Alexei Kervezee (12, 28b) picked up five courtesy of overthrows. Fell cut the next delivery down to the third man boundary.

The seamer kept his cool and brought County right back into the game. The first bonus point was recorded as Fell opted to leave a Buck delivery that came back to clip the off stump. Buck then bowled another jaffa to have Kervezee caught at the wicket, and the paceman took a wicket for a third consecutive over when castling Ben Cox (0, 2b).

Naik had done a fine holding job from the New Road End but Kohler-Cadmore hit a four and three through the off-side in his 20th over. A double change followed in the form of Sykes and Redfern, and the golden arm of the off-spinner struck again as Joe Leach (7, 22b) missed one that turned sharply.

Worcestershire were now 226-6 and added two more runs before tea. There was a tight start after the interval from Naik and Rob Taylor (8-1-24-0) before Kohler-Cadmore and Shaaiq Choudhry started to open up. Choudhry swept behind square for four and Kohler-Cadmore thrice drove with elan to the cover boundary before tickling a four down to fine leg.

The score was 262-6 after 80 overs and the new ball was not taken immediately. Naik and Sykes bowled from the opposite ends for the first time, and the decision to delay the new cherry was vindicated. After Kohler-Cadmore (41, 95b) launched into another neat drive off Naik, Sykes had the batsman lbw on the back foot.

Choudhry (40 not out, 107b) swept and pulled to pick up a brace of fours off Sykes before the bowler struck for a third time as Naik took a terrific catch at slip to dismiss Jack Shantry (0, 10b).

Choudhry flicked a full toss from Naik through square leg for four, and the new ball was claimed after 94 overs. Worcs picked up a third batting point in the following over through an Ajmal single.

Ajmal (20, 29b) struck Buck over mid-off and mid-on with respective shots that went for four and six but Shreck ended the stand of 32 as the spinner edged to O'Brien. Charlie Morris (1*, 7b) joined Choudhry and the duo saw their team through to the close.


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