Cricket news - Rutherford to return to Worcestershire for T20 Blast

In October last year, Rutherford was signed as Worcestershire's overseas player

In October last year, Rutherford was signed as Worcestershire's overseas player

Hamish Rutherford will be part of Worcestershire's set-up for the T20 Blast competition, the county confirmed on Friday (July 3), adding that the New Zealand batsman will be available for them for the entire duration of the T20 competition. Ashton Turner, however, won't be with Worcestershire this year due to his commitment with Western Australia.

In October last year, Rutherford was signed as Worcestershire's overseas player for all formats for the 2020 season but he'll be available only for the T20s due to a delay in the start of England's domestic season owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rutherford joined the team in 2019 and scored centuries in both his first-class and List A debut for Worcestershire. Rutherford also featured in the final of the T20 Blast competition last year when Worcestershire failed to defend the title against Essex.

"It's been a bitterly frustrating time for anyone in cricket all around the world and it's no different for Hamish," said Worcestershire head coach Alex Gidman, about the impact of COVID-19 that has meant that Rutherford isn't available for the other formats. "He was desperately keen to come and play for us again for the whole summer. Obviously that hasn't happened and it's great the club are still looking to pursue him for T20 cricket.

"We are looking forward to him coming back. Hamish and Riki (Wessels) can cause quite a lot of destruction at the top of the order and it's important for us as a club and as a group of players that we challenge as much as we can in that competition. It's something we've been successful in for the past two years and, regardless of how that competition looks this year, we want to try and do as well as possible in it," said Gidman.

Paul Pridgeon, the chairman of Worcestershire's cricket steering group, was pleased with Rutherford's return to the county for the T20 competition while he also confirmed that the plans to bring Turner on board have failed to materialise.

"Because of the change from the original T20 dates, Ashton would not be available for the entire competition because he would be required to return for practice by his state side (Western Australia). We are very grateful to him for his understanding in this matter," Pridgeon said.