Will Rhodes is looking forward to unleashing his new pace bowling attack on the County Championship.
And the Club Captain, who is keeping a watchful eye over his seamers alongside new Bowling Coach Stuart Barnes, believes his side will have plenty of options come April.
The Bears completed their heavy lifting pre-Christmas, securing Chris Rushworth (Durham), Ed Barnard (Worcestershire) for at least two campaigns and Hassan Ali for the first four months of the season.
Ali, a Pakistan international, will give the attack an extra yard of pace, whilst Rushworth, Durham’s all-time leading wicket with 603 wickets, will add a strong experienced option.
Rhodes, who is also a valuable candidate with the ball, could also call upon Chris Woakes. The England all-rounder is currently playing in the UAE-based International League T20, but the 33-year-old is desperate to return to the red-ball fold.
“It’s always great to have an unbelievable battery of seamers,” said Rhodes. “When we get to March and April that’s when we’ll sort of see what we’ve got, but, hopefully, they’re all fit and firing and ready to go.
“Hassan Ali’s an amazing signing and we came up against him at Old Trafford last year. He has a skill with reverse swing, which not many of us have faced at such pace. Hopefully, he can give us some tips on how to play and bowl with that.
“Rushy has been outstanding. He’s not been in too much so far, but his record speaks for itself as a senior pro. It feels like he’s taken a million wickets and I’m sure a few guys have already joked about how many times he’s got them out. I know I have! It’s certainly nice to see him coming down the road to us.
“When you lose Olly Stone and Ryan Sidebottom you need to replace those guys, because they’re two fantastic bowlers. The people we’ve brought in not only have real quality, but something different. Hassan has that extra yard of pace, which we probably lacked and Ed will give us another bowling option as an all-rounder.”
While the new additions will add fresh impetus to the Bears, the remaining bowlers are building up their fitness levels.
Henry Brookes has returned following his T10 stint, whilst Manraj Johal, Craig Miles, Liam Norwell and Che Simmons are hard at work in the Indoor School. George Garrett and Ethan Brookes meanwhile are plying their trade in Australia grade cricket.
“We’ve got Henry Brookes coming back, Craig Miles has got a fantastic record and Liam Norwell. We know what he can do!
“You add all those seamers to OHD and Rushy and you have an attack that has got a lot of wickets in it. Hopefully, teams will start to fear us like they did in 2021 when we secured the County Championship with the likes of Tim Bresnan and Chris Woakes.”
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