Worcestershire CCC’s promising paceman Josh Tongue has committed his long term future to the club by signing a new four year contract. The 19-year-old Academy product has put pen to paper on a deal through until the end of the 2021 campaign.
It is a reward for Tongue’s outstanding start to his debut season of senior cricket as Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes underlined the desire of the County to “keep hold of our best players.” He has taken 30 County Championship wickets at 24.26 runs apiece, including a career best 6-97 against Glamorgan at New Road last month, after recovering from a stress fracture of the back. Tongue, who first played as part of Worcestershire’s youth system as a six-year-old in the Under-10s, still had two years remaining on the contract he had signed last July but was delighted to agree the new package.
Rhodes said: “Josh Tongue has signed a new four year contract – from 2018 to 2021 – and we are absolutely delighted to be securing the services of one of our best young players.” He has been in the system since he was six years old and he is now progressing nicely in the first team.” If he keeps going on that curve, then there are future honours ahead for him. He is one of the brightest young fast bowling talents around the country. “Why wouldn’t we at Worcestershire want to secure him for the long term? We are obviously looking forward to working over the next four years with him.
“He is a guy who loves Worcestershire, enjoys playing at Worcester and wants to do well for Worcestershire.” Tongue made his First Class debut in the opening game of last season against Oxford MCCU when he picked up four wickets prior to his back problem. Rhodes said: “If people had been at Oxford University last year, that was a real moment when we knew we had got a proper professional bowler with us.” Then it was a case of trying to get him back to fitness. Our support team have done a marvellous job with him and so has Josh himself in his recovery.”
We have tried to manage him as best we can this season and he is in a good place.” Rhodes said the County not only wanted to produce good players – but also to keep them. He said: “Tongue’s signing will be a real nice tonic for people who question our ability to hang onto players. “We want to keep our best players and the way we are going to be successful is to produce players – but keep hold of them. “We desperately want to be an organisation that produces cricketers because if we lose an odd one or two, we are going to have good ones replacing them.”
Tongue said: “I’m really chuffed signing a longer deal with Worcestershire. It’s been my goal to get a longer contract and stay with the club as long as I can. “To have another two years on top of the contract I’ve already got is a really good thing for me. “It’s been amazing really how things have gone with my back operation in the winter and playing regularly first team cricket in the Championship and taking wickets as well. “But Worcestershire is a club that can definitely help me to develop my career.
“With the coaches we’ve got, Steve Rhodes, Matt Mason and Kevin Sharp, the experience they’ve got, to help me along the way has been fantastic. “It’s good you can call on them if you are going through a dry spell (wicket-wise). They are just really good coaches to have on board at Worcestershire. “Young players at Worcestershire also get a chance if they are performing. In the last couple of years people like Joe Clarke and Ed Barnard have done well. “It is a really good young side and one to watch in the years to come.”
Tongue is full of praise for the work of Ben Davies (Head of Science and Medicine) and Ross Dewar (Strength & Conditioning Coach) at New Road. He said: “I would like to say a big thank you to Ben and Ross for getting me fit for the start of the season. “The work they have put in with me has been tremendous and I will always be grateful and indebted to their support.”