NEW ROAD (First day): Worcestershire 307-4 v Glamorgan
Stephen Moore and Daryl Mitchell blunted a Glamorgan gamble to give Worcestershire their best start in the Championship for a year in the Division Two fixture at New Road yesterday when their county went some way to alleviating the absence of an overseas bowler.
The Welshmen's decision to bowl first on winning the toss backfired as the openers put on 109 and laid the foundation for a much-improved performance by the county's batsmen.
After failing to capture a batting bonus point in three of the previous four matches, Worces-tershire secured three on aproductive [f_i]rst day when Imran Arif, the 24-year-old Pakistani-born seamer making his debut, was registered as an overseas player. He has, at present, been registered for the minimum 21-day period permitted for an overseas player.
Worcestershire are keen to retain his services for a longer period - the leading wicket-taker in the Bradford League Division One with Saltaire last season has 30 wickets this season since moving to Hanging Heaton - but such a deal will depend partially on his obtaining a British passport and qualifying as a nonoverseas player. It is not thought likely to be a serious issue as he has a British wife and has permanent leave to work in the UK.
Worcestershire's hopes of recruiting Ajit Agarkar have been scuppered, however. Though he had agreed to be available from the start of August, he must undergo surgery to re-pair a hernia.
It also appears that the Indian cricket board
- the BCCI - have forbidden any of their play-ers from signing for counties with links to the 'rebel' Indian Cricket League. Worcestershire captain, Vikram Solanki, played in the ICL. The club still hope to acquire an overseas bowler but admit that their options are becoming limited. As Mark Newton, the club's chief executive, said: "Agarkar was plan Z, so I guess we're back at plan AA."
The best that Glamorgan's seam bowlers achieved in the morning was to keep the scor-ing down to an uneventful first 50 from 18 overs. Moore then upped the tempo to register a first half-century in nine innings.
Alex Wharf broke through in the 10th over after lunch when Moore surprisingly pulled a short ball to Gareth Rees at deep square leg after hitting 10 boundaries in a solid innings.
Mitchell maintained his unflustered ap-proach with 13 fours in reaching 78 off 155 balls - his highest Championship score at New Road - but then nibbled a catch behind off David Harrison who should have had another when Michael Powell, at second slip, dropped a chance offered by Solanki. The home captain, on 32, scored 69 off 94 balls.
Although the injured Robert Croft missed a Championship match for the first time since September 2001, Glamorgan could call upon two spinners. Solanki drove Jamie Dalrymple on to the New Road balcony for a straight six but an attempt to charge Dean Cosker resulted in his being stumped by Wallace.
Ben Smith put on 88 with Solanaki and saw Worcestershire overcome the loss of Graeme Hick for five -caught at slip off James Harris - by completing a set of fifties for the top four in the order. At the close he was 58 not out in an unbroken stand of 55 with Steven Davies (32 not out). ..SUPL: