New signing Gareth Roderick sets his sights on Gloucestershire wicketkeeper spot
Gareth Roderick believes he can stake a claim to be Gloucestershire’s first-choice wicketkeeper when the new county cricket season begins next month.
Signed during the winter following a successful trial period at Nevil Road last summer, the South African-born batsman has set his sights on taking the place vacated by Jonathan Batty.
Gloucestershire’s regular keeper for much of the 2012 campaign, Batty announced his retirement at the end of last season, leaving Richard Coughtrie as the only gloveman with first team experience on the County Ground staff.
If Roderick, 21, wants to fill Batty’s shoes, he must first put himself above Coughtrie in the pecking order.
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“I have decent hands and eyes, but there is still a lot of work to be done on my keeping,” admits Roderick, who launched his career at Kwa-Zulu Natal and is still considered primarily a batsman.
“I’m looking forward to working with Richard Coughtrie and Jack Russell, which will be a real privilege. I am very keen to learn and, hopefully, being with those guys will bring about an improvement in my game.
“As well as ‘Coffers’ and myself, we have young Cameron Herring on the staff. I was told last year that we would all start with a clean slate when it came to competing for places, but clearly Richard has a lot more experience than Cameron and I.
“He has been there and done it and I certainly don’t think I deserve to be first choice keeper straight away.
“It is a priority to work on that side of my game, but at the same time I don’t want to let my batting fall behind, so it will take time. I also have to catch up on fitness, having been back in South Africa for the winter.”
Roderick took the West of England Premier League by storm last season, scoring more than 1,000 runs at the top of Cheltenham’s batting order. A relative latecomer to keeping wicket, he first went behind the stumps while playing for his school team in South Africa.
He recalled: “I fielded at first slip at school and took over the gloves at the age of 17 when our keeper lost interest and quit.
“It was a very competitive school and if you didn’t want to play cricket when you left they didn’t really want you in the team.
“No-one else wanted to be wicketkeeper, so I said I would give it a go and I picked it up pretty quickly.”