Head coach David Ripley backing Richard Levi to deliver big runs in division one
Head coach David Ripley is backing Richard Levi to step up and hit the run trail in the top flight of first-class English cricket next season.
The 31-year-old has put pen to paper on a one-year extension, and Ripley believes the right-handed batsman is more than capable of making a big impact in Spescavers County Championship Division One.
Levi's major role at the County Ground in recent seasons has been in the white ball game, with the player seen mainly as a specialist in the T20 and 50-over games.
But Ripley feels the South African has the game to excel in red-ball cricket as well, and said: “I’m delighted Richard's staying on.
"He finished the season in the team and has scored heavily for us in red ball cricket before.
"I think it’s certainly on both our radars that he gets himself into the red ball team and scores heavily for us in division one.
"He’s more than capable of doing it and he’s done it before.
“He probably didn’t have the summer he envisaged, and I think when we saw him in the white ball side we saw glimpses of what he’s very much about.
"He’s a match winning cricketer and we are convinced we’re going to see more of that with Rich next season.”
Levi has a more than handy first-class record in his career, scoring 5,703 runs at an average of 36.55, scoring 10 centuries and 32 half-centuries.
And Ripley is challenging the player to pump up the volume of runs in division one next summer.
“Rich just scores at a naturally quick rate, I think about the game against Durham and he got 60 in not too many balls and he just played proper cricket shots," said the County head coach.
"That’s a difference he has, that ability to get big hundreds where he just gets into a tempo of not just hitting boundaries but building a proper match winning innings.
“As a group it’s something we have to improve for next year, where are our 160s and 180s coming from that are really going to influence a division one four day match?
"I’ll be challenging the lads to do that for us.”