New Shropshire captain Steve Leach has promised his side will look to play exciting cricket as he prepares for his first game at the helm this weekend.
Shropshire begin their new season with a Unicorns Trophy clash against Herefordshire at Shrewsbury’s London Road ground on Sunday, with Leach looking forward to leading the county for the first time.
It’s the first of four group games in the Unicorns Trophy as Shropshire target a major improvement on their one-day record from last season when they struggled.
But with new signings David Wainwright, Alex Wyatt and returning former skipper Richard Oliver all set to figure this weekend, Leach believes there is plenty to look forward to.
“I’m really excited,” said Leach, 22, who scored more than 700 Championship runs for Shropshire last season. “It’s been a long winter, there’s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes, and I’m really excited now. I think we’ve got a really good crop of players and I think we’re going to have a really good team.
“We’re going to play exciting cricket, take the game to the opposition, and hopefully put them under quite a lot of pressure.
“We didn’t play very well in the one-dayers last year, but looking at the personnel there’s no reason why we can’t right some of the wrongs this year.
“We’ve got four initial group games in this competition, so to gain a positive result early on will hopefully set us up really well. It’s the first one-day game and it would be really positive to get a win on the board.”
Leach is impressed with the quality of the Shropshire squad, with the talented local youngsters who continue to improve now joined by a number of exciting additions from the first-class game.
Left-arm spinner Wainwright has plenty of experience at the highest level with Yorkshire and Derbyshire, six-foot-seven tall paceman Wyatt spent seven years at Leicestershire while prolific run scorer Oliver returns to Shropshire after two seasons with Worcestershire to renew his opening partnership with Leach.
“They’re all going to add a lot to our team,” said the skipper. “We obviously know what Richie Oliver can do. It’s a massive, massive bonus to have him back. I think everyone around the county is going to be really excited to see Richie back in a Shropshire shirt.
“Alex Wyatt is a very good player, a tall seamer, who looks to be very accurate. I’m sure he’s going to do really well for Shropshire.
“David Wainwright’s a really class player. He’s played for England Lions, he’s taken 50 first-class wickets in a season, his record speaks for itself, so I think we’re very lucky to have him.”
Leach also hopes the runs will keep flowing for himself having become such a a consistent performer for Shropshire. He stressed he’s feeling in good form having struck a half century for Oxford MCCU against Northamptonshire earlier this month.
“There will be no prouder moment for me than walking out and leading Shropshire,” he added. “Hopefully some runs for myself will obviously add to the cause, but a nice win to get the season started would go down very well indeed.”
Sunday’s action at Shrewsbury starts at 11am and admission is free.
Pictured: New Shropshire captain Steve Leach, who leads the county for the first time on Sunday.