Preview: Nottinghamshire v Warwickshire, Friendly
Warwickshire face Nottinghamshire in a two-day friendly at Trent Bridge starting Saturday aiming to continue the excellent preparation provided by their first pre-season game at Kent.
The Bears will travel to the East Midlands after two productive days at Canterbury where the batters got some time at the crease and the bowlers some overs in their legs.
The pitch in Canterbury was highly untypical of an April surface in England – dry, placid and batsman-friendly. That provoked a few rye grumbles from the bowling group but made for perfect practice, revealed Bears captain Will Rhodes.
“It was a very beneficial two days down there,” the skipper said. “I think even the Kent lads were surprised by how flat the pitch was. There were no complaints from the batters but was a bit of moaning from the bowlers!
“To be honest, it was really a perfect pre-season pitch. The batters got time in the middle and the bowlers had to adapt to the situation and just try to find their rhythm which is what they need to do at this time of year.
“It was good for Dom Sibley and Alex Davies and then myself and Hainy in the second session to spend some time in the middle. Runs were almost irrelevant – at this time of year it’s just a question of balls faced.
“All the guys just loved playing outdoors again. We are all a bit sick of the indoor centre after months in there and it’s great to be out in the middle playing cricket with all the bits that you don’t get indoors, like running between the wickets and trying to find the gaps between fielders.”
Now attention turns to Trent Bridge and a Nottinghamshire side against which the Bears recorded two memorable victories last season on the way to lifting the LV= Insurance County Championship title.
Liam Norwell is rested due to a back spasm and Manraj Johal is still on the way back from injury but hopefully both will be available next week. Oxford MCCU triallist seamer Zaman Akhter comes into the squad.
“Notts will be a very different challenge,” said Rhodes. “They are another very good side and one we are very familiar with after the last couple of seasons so it will be another really good test for us.
“The guys are pretty much all fit. There are always a couple of niggles when you get back out on grass for the first time in the spring but, touch wood, we’ve got pretty much a full quota and we just can’t wait for these friendlies to keep on coming.
“There is a really enjoyable feeling around the dressing room and the club as the season draws near. It is a surreal feeling, and a very nice one, to be starting off as champions but nobody is resting on any laurels. We are absolutely as motivated and excited by the challenge of retaining our title as we were by trying to win it.”
Will Rhodes (C)
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