Tom Kohler-Cadmore: Worcestershire batsman a 'special' hitter, says Rhodes
Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes says that the beauty of Tom Kohler-Cadmore's batting is the straightness of his hitting.
The 21-year-old heads for Edgbaston on Friday night looking to do to the same to the Birmingham Bears as he did to Durham's bowlers a week ago.
Inside 53 electric minutes, he blasted 14 fours and eight sixes in a stunning new county T20 record score of 127.
"Tom's innings was very special," Rhodes told BBC Hereford & Worcester.
"He can hit a beautiful straight ball. He struck a couple of sixes straight into New Road, which were magnificent.
"If you look at the direction of a lot of his sixes, they were very straight and that's nice to see because sometimes he can drag it a little bit and get into trouble. He also fielded extremely well, taking three good boundary catches."
Records tumble for Worcestershire
Malvern College-educated Kohler-Cadmore got to his hundred in just 43 balls, only just failing to surpass former Worcestershire skipper Ben Smith's fastest-ever century for the county.
Smith was marginally quicker on the way to making 105 off 45 balls against Glamorgan at New Road in 2005.
But it supplanted Graeme Hick's 116 not out against Northamptonshire at Luton in 2004 as the highest score by a Worcestershire batsman in the T20.
And, more importantly, the 38-run victory got the five-times quarter-finalists off to a winning start as they bid to shed the unwanted statistic of being one of only counties (the others are Derbyshire) who have never made it to Finals Day.
Worcestershire then followed up their Friday night run fest with another eye-catching performance in the Championship this week, bowling out Leicestershire for 43 inside 25 overs to claim their first victory of the season in the long form of the game too.
"I've been involved in some crazy days of cricket over my career," said Rhodes. "And that was certainly one of them. The bowling and fielding was outstanding."
Ronchi to make home debut for Bears
Birmingham Bears will New Zealand international wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi making his home debut on Friday night in a private contest of four Kiwis that throws him and his new Bears team-mate Jeetan Patel up against Worcestershire pair Mitchell Santner and Matt Henry.
After a winning start at Trent Bridge last Friday night, Ronchi admits: "I can't wait. The crowds really came out for the first T20 of the season at Nottingham. That was fantastic and we're hoping we can get another win under our belts.
"It should be a good crowd," said Bears captain Ian Bell, who will be playing in his first T20 local Bears-Pears derby in seven years, due to his past England commitments.
But Bell points out: "It would be nice to win and get back on the horse straightaway.
"Worcestershire are now a fantastic T20 side with two good overseas players and some batters that look good at that form of the game.
"We've got a few niggles and it's exciting that we might see a few of the younger lads. But any T20 home game is good, particularly against Worcestershire at home.
"It's my first against them for a long time and it should be a great night. Everyone loves a derby."
Up for the Gifford Cup
Twenty 20 cricket is now into its 14th year in the English summer calendar - and the Bears have so far experienced 24 short-form encounters with their old local rivals Worcestershire.
Worcestershire held the upper hand in the two sides' early years of T20 combat, winning four of the first five. But they have had slim pickings since, winning just four more times and their overall total of eight victories now stands now stand well shy of the Bears' 14, with two abandonments.
But, having lost of their last seven T20 Pears-Bears contests, maybe the prospect of playing for silverware might help, especially as the cup, the Gifford Trophy will be played in honour of one of their most famous former players, former England slow left-arm spinner Norman Gifford.
Lancashire-born Gifford played for Worcestershire for 22 years, from 1960 to 1982, playing 15 Tests and captaining his adopted county for 10 seasons. But, as he then went on a further six seasons with Warwickshire as player, the last three of them as captain, the cup has been named in his honour.
The Norman Gifford Trophy itself is not a new piece of silverware. It was first contested by Warwickshire and Worcestershire in three List 'A' matches between 1967 and 1969 as the Mackeson Trophy.