Rhodes hails French impact
Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes has paid tribute to Bruce French and the "great results" he has overseen during his time as England's wicketkeeping coach.
Former keeper Rhodes, who represented England in 11 Tests and nine ODIs between 1989 and 1995, credits French with improving every player he has worked with in the national set-up.
While the ultra-reliable Matt Prior is firmly established as first-choice behind the stumps in Test matches, limited-overs head coach Ashley Giles has a wide range of options when it comes to one-day international and Twenty20 cricket
Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow are currently vying for the gloves on the tour of New Zealand, while the likes of Craig Kieswetter and Steven Davies are among several wicketkeepers on the county circuit with recent international experience.
"I think a lot of praise should go to Bruce French; he's really got stuck in to his workload with the wicketkeepers and I think he's had some great results," said Rhodes in an exclusive interview with ecb.co.uk.
"All the guys he has worked with (have improved). He's a little bit quiet in the background but I tell you what, he does some good work with his keepers."
Rhodes believes England's decision to employ French on a full-time basis is a significant contributing factor to their current strength in the wicketkeeping department.
"It's good for England that we've got so many keepers to pick from, but it's not a coincidence," he added.
"People don't understand the work that Bruce does, not only with the England guys, but with the age-group squads and the Lions people.
"It's not a coincidence that we've done well. We have a full-time England wicketkeeping coach, which we didn't used to have, and we have improved in that area. What does that tell you?"
The continued improvement of Prior has also caught the eye of Rhodes.
Prior endured a few troublesome moments in the early stages of his England career, but is now widely recognised as the best wicketkeeper-batsman in Test cricket, having enjoyed consistent success over a prolonged period of time.
"I am just so impressed with Matt Prior," said Rhodes.
"When he started keeping for England he was making mistakes and the effort he has put in to get where he is now with his wicketkeeping is outstanding, and he thoroughly deserves every accolade that he gets.
"It's all down to the hard work he's put in with Bruce. A lot of what he does is magnificent and he can do it because he's such a fit, strong lad. He's worked on that in a way that is helping his wicketkeeping."