Will Rhodes is already getting his teeth into a new season of grade cricket in Australia – and, far from craving some rest over the winter, he just wants the matches to keep on coming.
Opening batsman Rhodes has rejoined Perth-based Willetton, for whom he played last winter, fresh from an excellent first season with Warwickshire.
"Opening the batting is a tough job, but the partnership between Dom and I was working well in the second half of the season and it was great to see Dom playing so well."
The former Yorkshire player scored 972 championship runs, at an average of 44.18, and formed an opening alliance with Dom Sibley which gelled very productively in the second half of the season. The pair ended the championship season with opening stands of 123, 96, 158 and 176.
Rhodes hit four hundreds and four fifties in four-day cricket and believes a winter down under (he will return to Edgbaston in February) offers him excellent preparation for the challenges of being similarly productive in Division One next year.
“It is just great to get this volume of cricket on grass,” he said. “Practicing indoors is all very well but anybody I’ve played with at Yorkshire or Warwickshire will tell you I very quickly get impatient to get outside on the grass.
“Willetton is a great club and I was here last year so know the lads and the set-up well and am really looking forward to the next few months and hopefully making a big contribution.
“It’s also nice to get into a new social environment for a while – and Perth is lovely. The temperature is forecast to hit 36 degrees tomorrow!
“I was really happy with my first season at Warwickshire. I started the season aiming just to get my first century under my belt, so to end up with four and almost 1,000 runs was very pleasing. It was a shame I left a straight one in the last game or I would probably have got to 1,000!
“Now the challenge is to do it next year in Division One which will be harder. Opening the batting is a tough job, as you can tell by the number of partners that Alastair Cook had for England over the years, but the partnership between Dom and I was working well in the second half of the season and it was great to see Dom playing so well. Now we have to do the same job for the team in Div One.”
Rhodes’s first appearance of the season for Willetton last week brought him 26 runs and a first-innings spell of 11-5-28-1 which prompted captain Cameron Bancroft to throw him the new ball in the second innings.
The 23-year-old was lightly-used as a bowler by the Bears last season but is keen to contribute plenty in that department too.
“I didn’t get much work with the ball but can’t complain because we blew a lot of teams away, bowling them out in 50 or 60 overs,” he said. “That will be harder to do in Division One so I might get a bit more bowling to do and if so then great because I really enjoy it.”