Worcestershire invite fans to pay respects to Josh Baker

Worcestershire have invited fans to sign a book of condolence in memory of Josh Baker, following the 20-year-old spinner’s shock death on Thursday.

The promising left-armer had been playing in a four-day match for the county’s second XI at Bromsgrove, taking three wickets less than 24 hours before the news broke of his passing.

The club have offered no further details about the circumstances, having asked for privacy for Baker’s family, but have opened a space at their New Road ground to allow supporters to pay tribute.

“Our Severn Suite is open today for anyone who would like to stop by for a quiet moment or sign a book of condolence in memory of Josh,” Worcestershire posted on X.

The game Baker was involved in, against a Somerset second string captained by England spinner Jack Leach, was abandoned as a draw on Thursday and the Professional Cricketers’ Association has told the PA news agency that it has been in contact with both clubs to offer support.

Details of the help on offer is not made public, but it is understood a PCA personal development manager visited the ground to speak directly to players as a first port of call.

Tributes have continued to flow in for Baker from the English game, with England white-ball captain Jos Buttler messaging from his stint at the Indian Premier League.

“Incredibly sad news, thoughts and prayers with all Josh’s family, friends and all at Worcs,” he wrote on Instagram.

England Women’s coach Jon Lewis echoed those sentiments and revealed his assistant coach, Alex Gidman, had been rocked by the tragedy.

Gidman was Baker’s head coach at Worcestershire and oversaw his development into a first-team cricketer.

“It’s really shocking. I spoke to Alex and he was pretty cut up about it,” said Lewis.

“He gave Josh his first contract at Worcestershire, so he was quite connected to that part of cricket. Cricket is an incredibly small world and it’s really sad.”

Lewis, who has directly experienced the loss of two younger colleagues during his time in the game, added: “I obviously have been around two environments when cricketers have passed away, I was at Sussex with Matthew Hobden, and Surrey with Tom Maynard, and they’re really sad times.

“It will be a big struggle for Josh’s family, but also for the players at Worcestershire and all the staff there and we wish them all the best.”