It is a widely held view that the ability to cajole others and instil energy in team-mates are among the most vital of the natural gifts possessed by the best wicketkeepers.

With that in mind, the unbridled optimism of Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes this week will have done much to lift any lingering gloom around New Road.

The day after severe rain washed away his side’s hopes of progressing to the knock-out stages of the Friends Provident Trophy, perfect cricket weather beamed down on the ground when there was no match.

Sadly, more rain is forecast over the next few days and looks likely to hamper Worcestershire’s championship match with Essex, which starts today.

The unfortunate irony was not lost on Worcestershire’s frustrated director of cricket.

“You can’t really print in your paper what I think about it - but that is the way it happens,” he said. “The ground is still a bit damp in places but it has dried out a lot over the course of the day. If we don’t get any more rain before 11am [today] we will start on time.”

To compound matters on Wednesday, The Post revealed that Derbyshire had signalled their intent to speak to Worcestershire’s leading run-machine in the four-day format with a view to procuring his services for next season.

“It doesn’t bother me too much that other counties are showing an interest in my players,” Rhodes said, phlegmatically. “It would be more worrying if counties weren’t showing an interest because that would indicate that we haven’t got many good players.

“I have on-going chats with Stephen. I respect him as a person and a player. He is absolutely determined to score the most runs in the club and the fact he is on the way to doing that is testament to the hard work he put in during the summer on a couple of elements of his game which he has really sorted out.

“But I talk to him every day and I know he loves it here and that Worcestershire is where he wants to play his cricket.”

Moore’s performances this season have been superb and will more than likely play a huge role in what Rhodes sees as a season heading for promotion. How his unbeaten side have not secured their first championship win, given the high standard of cricket they have produced, is anyone’s guess.

Rain has, once again, played its part; as has an inability to kill off teams from dominant positions, Rhodes said.

He added: “Teams like to play a very tight game against us; they do not want to open up because I think they see us as a real promotion threat. We have been in some great positions to win games but not quite managed to nail them home.

“The weather has also intervened on numerous occasions and those are reasons why we are undefeated in the league but yet to win. However, we are looking to winning games by playing good cricket, which is very important to us and what I keep reminding the team.

“If we keep playing well the points will come because that is the way it works. Hopefully it will be in this game but if it’s not to be then they will come in the future.”

Essex are one of the stronger sides in Division Two of the championship – a league comprising as much mediocrity as quality – and a win at New Road would send them top. Much of their success this season has lain on the shoulders of England’s Ravi Bopara and a vastly-improved Ryan ten Doeschate, the division’s leading wicket-taker.

Rhodes said: “I would highlight Bopara as their best batsmen and I think he is a very good player all round the wicket. Danish Kaneira is obviously a danger and ten Doeschate has really improved as a cricketer, so they have threats all over the team - but we like to focus on what we can do.”

Worcestershire will go into the first day without Gareth Andrew who is sidelined with a bruised heel.

Typically, there are benefits to Andrew’s omission. Rhodes said: “It is worth resting him this game and that fits in quite nicely with our rotation policy. I would have liked to have played him but the obvious plus is that we will get him back fully fresh after this game.

“It also gives an opportunity to Chris Whelan, who has recently come off a great run in the second team where he took six wickets in each innings against Warwickshire which he followed up with four the week after. He is full of confidence and now he has an opportunity to shine in the first team.”

Fingers crossed the sun does the same.