MITCHELL McClenaghan could make his debut for Worcestershire Rapids in tonight’s NatWest T20 Blast clash at holders Northamptonshire Steelbacks (6.30pm).
The New Zealand paceman, who has replaced spinner Saeed Ajmal as the club’s overseas player for all forms of cricket until the end of the season, has been named in a 15-man squad.
McClenaghan enjoyed a successful spell in T20 with Lancashire last season after impressing for his country in the ICC Trophy, held in England, with 11 wickets in three games.
Director of cricket Steve Rhodes said: “I think we’ve planned well. Mitch has been around now for 10 days so he’s fully acclimatised and raring to go.
“We’ve almost been having to hold Mitch back with him not being able to play cricket and a hungry fast bowler is a really good thing.
“He has got his first game tonight in a format he has excelled in and done really well.
“He did well for Lancashire last time he was over in the T20 competition.”
Rhodes also believes McClenaghan is a man on a mission with New Zealand touring England next summer.
“He is desperate to get into that New Zealand Test side,” the County chief added.
“He knows his four-day performances are going to be crucial in New Zealand but also what he does here in four-day cricket can prove to the selectors and coaches that he can play the longer format.
“I always like to get overseas players with a point to prove and Mitch has got a point to prove.”
Joe Leach, who made a telling contribution with bat and ball in the LV = County Championship win over Leicestershire, is also named in the squad.
Worcestershire are currently fourth in the North Group with two games remaining – with the top four securing a quarter-final spot.
The Rapids have already beaten Northamptonshire once in the T20 Blast, recording a five-wicket victory at New Road in May, including 77 from Richard Oliver.
But they will be looking to bounce back from successive defeats against Lancashire Lightning and Birmingham Bears in the competition, which came following an eight-game unbeaten sequence.
Rhodes said: “ We didn’t play badly. I thought we batted extremely well in the defeats against Lancashire and Warwickshire, two good sides. We didn’t quite nail it with the ball.
“I was quite happy we batted well enough and, if we can put all departments together tonight, then we should have a good result against Northants.”
Worcestershire (from): Mit-chell, Oliver, Kohler-Cadmore, Munro, Kervezee, Whiteley, Cox, Leach, D’Oliveira, Choudhry, Andrew, Morris, Shantry, McClenaghan, Russell.