NEW first-team coach Alex Gidman believes Worcestershire Rapids will get “a lot more attention” from their rivals next summer when they launch their defence of the Vitality Blast.

Gidman who took charge of the second team last season played a major role in the Rapids’ white-ball success in the Royal London One-Day Cup and then the Blast as Worcestershire emerged as T20 champions for the first time.

The former Gloucestershire captain is aware opponents will take more notice of Rapids following their triumph at Edgbaston on finals day in mid-September but says his players are “hungry” to improve.

Worcestershire will open their 14-game North Group programme on Thursday, July 19 when they take on Notts Outlaws – the 2017 champions – at Trent Bridge.

The following day (June 19) Rapids will do battle with Birmingham Bears at Blackfinch New Road and looking to repeat last season’s success over their rivals.

Asked whether he was optimistic of making a strong defence of the Blast, Gidman said: “We will be trying.

“But 17 other counties will be trying to win it as well.

“It is a mistake in any competition to make predictions and assume things.

“All I can do is assure our supporters and members that we will be looking to improve again and we will be trying our best when that competition comes around.

“But a lot can happen between now and then.

“Someone I hugely respect said ‘you can never predict what is going to happen in this game’ and that is something I live by on a daily basis but we will definitely be trying very hard.”

Gidman stressed the importance of ensure his team continue to “evolve” as they also prepare for the Specsavers County Championship Division Two campaign.

“All of a sudden from being a team that probably all the counties respected and thought were good to being champions we are the best team in the country (in T20),” Gidman said/

“We will get a lot more attention as regards to how we play and what our strengths and weaknesses are.

“We need to keep evolving, keep trying to get better, and I know with the brief conversations I’ve had with the guys so far they are all aware of that and hungry to try and do that.

“Rest assured we will be trying our best to evolve and improve.

“One thing we did in that competition very well was the basics.

“It is important we don’t try and find a miracle way of playing all of a sudden.

“It’s about doing the basics as well as we can and just doing those better and making some tweaks here and there to try and improve those fundamentals of the game which put us in good stead last year.”