Davies aiming for Royals Twenty20 success
Steve Davies insists Twenty20 is no joke for Worcestershire this season as the wicketkeeper aims to prove the England selectors wrong.
The Royals’ Twenty20 Cup campaign gets underway tomorrow when the Gloucestershire Gladiators make the trip to New Road.
Worcestershire have so far failed to make an impact in the short-format having only ventured out of the group stages twice before falling at the quarter-final hurdle in 2004 and 2007.
Highly-rated gloveman Davies admits the county have been guilty of treating Twenty20 as just a bit of fun in the past – but the 22-year-old insists times have changed.
The format’s global explosion coupled with the attraction of mega-bucks has seen the importance of Twenty20 rocket in recent years. And it is for that reason Worcestershire are out to prove they mean business in T20 in 2009, according to Davies.
“We’re all excited for Twenty20. We’ve not done that well in the competition in the past but all the boys are starting to understand how important it is,” he admitted.
“It’s fun but it is a format that is becoming more and more serious and it’s an important international game now.
‘‘You can make some serious money from Twenty 20 if you go far. It’s now as important as any other competition and it will be nice to have a break from four-day cricket.
“I think we know that we can do things a bit better in the Twenty20 competition and take it a bit more seriously. It used be seen as a bit of a joke and not that important.”
Of course Davies has an extra reason to impress having failed to make the cut for the 15-man England squad for the World Twenty20, which gets underway on these shores next month.
The Bromsgrove-born star earned an England call-up for the Twenty20 fixture against the West Indies in Trinidad in March and top scored with 27 for the tourists during the six wicket defeat.
However, having made the provisional 30-man squad, alongside Pears team-mates Kabir Ali and Gareth Batty, for the forthcoming international competition, he hasn’t been given another chance to shine on the world stage.
“I’m disappointed not to be included because it’s a great competition,” said Davies. “It’s hard especially as I’ve gone away and had a taste of Twenty20 with England.
“I loved it, it was something I had worked to achieve since I was six. It was something I always wanted to do and having had a taste of it I want more. But that’s cricket and everybody’s got a story, I’ve just got to play well for Worcestershire now.
“Of course I want to do well and let the selectors know what they are missing. However they know what I can do, I’ll just keep playing my game and keep my fingers crossed.”
Eager to make an impact, Davies has now urged Worcester boss Steve Rhodes to hand him the bat from the off when their Twenty20 Cup begins tomorrow.
“I love it. You get the big crowds and for me personally I feel I’ve not had the chance to have a good go as I’ve batted down the order because we had Graeme Hick and Vikram Solanki.
“I used to start at six or seven and then drift down to 11. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to open this season. I think we all play cricket to play in big games in front of big crowds and I’ve already had a taste of that with England.
“I think my game is suited to opening the batting in Twenty20 because I play the same way as I do in 50 over cricket. I look to use the pace of the bowler early on and get through the gaps straight away.”
Davies, who has also become a regular with the England Lions, believes Worcestershire are better placed than at any time before to mount a serious assault on Twenty20 silverware this summer, with a potential Champions League place the dangling carrot.
He pinpoints the county’s recent one-day performances, with the exception of last week’s mauling by Ireland, as proof that the Royals are fast becoming a potent limited overs unit.
“As I said, we’ve never done very well in Twenty20 competition but we’re looking to change that and with the way we’ve been playing one-day cricket so far I think we’re looking pretty dangerous.
“We’ve got good hitters with Vikram and Moeen Ali, who has already hit two centuries this season and is a young, quality cricketer.
“Then we’ve got some good batsmen further down in the middle order with the likes Ashley Noffke and Gareth Batty. We’re going to be a dangerous side this season.”