Kervezee offers promise of shock Worcester win

Worcestershire 315 & 256-5 Nottinghamshire 382
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The Independent Online

Alexei Kervezee's first full season in Championship cricket yielded 1,190 runs, which confirmed Worcestershire's estimation that they had "a very accomplished young talent" on their hands when they signed the Namibian-born batsman as a 16-year-old in 2007.

For all the good impressions he made in 2010, Worcestershire knew, of course, that their case was not proven. He had shown promise against First Division bowling the year before, with a couple of half-centuries in a poor, relegation-bound side, but only fresh exposure to top-class attacks would enable a proper assessment of where that talent might take him.

Thanks in no small part to three centuries and six 50s from their young right-hand batsman, already an established international with his adopted Netherlands, Worcestershire duly won promotion last year. Now he is back, he looks completely at home.

Against the champion county here yesterday, the 21-year-old finished 123 not out and Worcestershire, who had been fearful of slipping to a third defeat in three matches when, with a 67-run first-innings deficit, they fell to 56 for four, have a lead that might be the foundation even for a win.

Such a quiet boy that his team-mates took to calling him "Rowdy", Kervezee began building a reputation for unflappability at the crease when, aged 16, he made 47 on his one-day international debut against Sri Lanka, even in the face of a record score of 443 for nine, so wandering out at Trent Bridge was not likely to faze him.

Half-centuries against Yorkshire and Warwickshire had clearly reinforced his confidence and the quality he revealed here was that of a batsman with considerable potential, with rarely the hint of an error and a repertoire of clean, attacking strokes that brought him runs all around the wicket, including a superbly timed drive, from the crease, against the medium pace of Steven Mullaney that took him to 100 with a six.

In tandem first with Matt Pardoe, another young man with promise, Kervezee guided Worcestershire into the lead but it was his alliance with Gareth Andrew, so far worth 119, that has raised the possibility of a surprise. On a pitch of variable bounce, Nottinghamshire are more than capable of coming unstuck with a last-innings target of 250 in front of them and, already 189 in front, Worcestershire might easily manage to set that sort of mark.

How grateful the home side are already for Franks's 82 in the morning, without which they would be that far in arrears already.

* Stuart Broad's comeback with Nottinghamshire is now scheduled for the match against Sussex in Hove on 10 May after it was confirmed that his failure to meet his Indian Premier League commitment because of the injury has triggered an insurance pay-out to cover his £240,000 contract with King's XI Punjab.