Worcestershire Seconds will include triallist wicket-keeper batsman Safwaan Imtiaz in their side for the four-day friendly match with Gloucestershire Seconds at Cheltenham College beginning today (11am).
The 22-year-old is playing for MCC Young Cricketers this summer and earlier this month scored 91 against Worcestershire in a Second Eleven Trophy game at Merchant Taylor’s School.
Imtiaz had previously represented Essex’s second team and also played for them at Under-13, Under-14, under-15 and Under-17s
Another triallist in Tristan Blackledge will have a second game for the Seconds after performing heroics with Zain Ul Hassan in batting out the final 22.4 overs to earn a draw in the Championship match with Lancashire at Barnt Green.
Head Coach Kevin Sharp said: “The lads had a difficult second day against Lancashire who batted really well and got in front in the game.
“It was always going to be a challenge to bat most of the final day on a turning pitch.
“Ollie Westbury played really well and got a hundred, supported by one or two others, and then there was a really fantastic stand at the end from Zain, one of our Academy lads, and Tristan who batted at number 11 but clearly is not a number 11 and can bat.
“It was great to see on a pitch that was spinning with fielders all around the bat and the two lads applied themselves really well and in all fairness didn’t really look like getting out.
“They had a game plan, played with intent and purpose, who was great to watch.
“Zain is not a number nine batsman but when you start playing in the Seconds coming from the Academy you have got to bat in the positions you are given and you have to make your way in the game.
“He is a genuine all-rounder, has got good skills, so there should be a bright future for him.”
Skipper Ollie Westbury will be looking to continue his good form after hitting centuries in the last two Championship matches against MCC and Lancashire.
Cheltenham College has been a happy hunting ground for Westbury who scored 151 in 2016 and 118 last summer off the Gloucestershire attack.
Sharp added: “Ollie lost a bit of form in the second half of last season but that’s all part of the learning process.
“There won’t be many cricketers around who have not gone through a lull in form whether you are young or a bit older.
“But he is a smart lad, he learns, he has looked very accomplished at the crease and it was a very nice innings the other say (against Lancashire).