Worcestershire: Steve Rhodes pleased to be back at New Road

New Road, Worcester

Worcestershire coach Steve Rhodes is pleased to be back on familiar soil at New Road for this week's home game against Leicestershire after starting the new season on the road.

The team have played their opening matches of the summer away from home because of planned building work at the New Road End of the famous old ground.

"We've spent a tough month away from home," Rhodes told BBC Sport.

"But it's good to get back to New Road. We get good support from our members."

Having spent 35 days under water over the winter, the lack of early-season cricket at New Road actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it gave the pitch time to recover and avoided the possibility of the club having the start the season at Kidderminster.

"It's been tough for our groundstaff," added Rhodes. "With all the flooding we've had, the pitch is not as well grassed as it should be.

"The wicket might turn a bit, so we'll have a look at it and make a decision on the final XI on Wednesday morning."

Left-armer Jack Shantry's form last week, a career-best haul of 7-60 against the Oxford students followed by tidy figures of 3-29 in Sunday's 91-run YB40 win over Sussex at Hove, has earned him a recall for his first Championship game of the season.

And there will also be a home debut for Thilan Samaraweera, this summer's overseas signing, who has so far made 145 runs in his five first-class innings.

"He's settled in really well," said Rhodes. "And, like everyone, he's looking forward to playing at New Road.

"Apart from one bad game against Hampshire, we've played pretty well without a lot of luck. But you can't beat a win. And the lads will have gained huge confidence from a performance like we put in on Sunday at Hove.

"We had some good plans and executed them well. It's just a shame Sussex is so far away from Worcester, as I'd have loved our supporters to have seen it."

Worcestershire (from): D K H Mitchell (capt), M G Pardoe, M M Ali, T T Samaraweera, A N Kervezee, N D Pinner, M Johnson (wk), G M Andrew, C J Russell, A Richardson, S H Choudhry, J D Shantry.

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