Josh Tongue has thanked Ben Davies and Ross Dewar for helping to keep him fit all summer as the Worcestershire paceman moved closer to the 50 wicket mark in his debut season of senior cricket.

Tongue has played all 13 of the County’s Specsavers County Championship matches and took his wicket tally in the competition to 43 with two more victims on day one of the home clash with Leicestershire.

It is a splendid effort by Tongue after his well documented back problems and he is full of praise for Head Of Medicine and Science Davies and Strengthening And Conditioning Coach Dewar for their considerable part.

And Tongue is relishing being handed the responsibility of taking the new ball after John Hastings was forced to cut short his first season at New Road because of injury.

Tongue said: “I feel good, fitness wise I feel really good, bowling-wise I’ve been bowling very nicely.

“Taking the new ball now Hasto has gone, there is a bit more responsibiity on myself. I do enjoy the new ball. You get more rewards with it nipping around and a bit of swing.

“Credit to Ben Davies and Ross Dewar for keeping me out on the park really after my back operation last year.

“I owe them a lot of thanks. I’ve played all the Championship games now so I’m really enjoying it and a really good season for myself.”

Tongue is Worcestershire’s second highest wicket-taker behind Joe Leach (61) although Ed Barnard is hot on his heels.

He said: “Is 50 wickets a possibility? I’m only seven away now so it’s a big target for myself.

“It would be a really good achievement especially in my first season.

“At the start of the season, the aim was first of all to stay fit and then hopefully the wickets would come.

“Myself and Barny are having a bit of competition. He’s one behind me, it’s good competition between us both.”

Meanwhile, Josh was delighted to see elder brother Ryan make an impact for the Seconds by scoring 70 in the drawn game with Surrey Seconds at Kidderminster.

The 23-year-old has scored more than 1,000 runs in the Birmingham League for Barnards Green this season.

Tongue said: “It’s great for him with all the runs he has scored in the Birmingham League (for Barnards Green) and now he has the opportunity to play second team cricket.

“He took his opportunity and got a few runs last week so good for him. Sharpy (Seconds coach Kevin Sharp) said he batted well and really dug in.”