The wicket-keeper admits this young group has an opportunity to lead Warwickshire for many years to come.
Tim Ambrose believes Warwickshire’s young group are ready to flourish.
And the wicket-keeper admits he’s ‘excited to see them take their responsibility’.
Ambrose was speaking in Abu Dhabi, where he was one of only two capped players who made the trip.
The other, Sam Hain, was the last Bear to be capped in 2018, with Ian Bell, Jeetan Patel and Chris Woakes missing out due to scheduling and injury.
It’s exciting when you see these young players and the positions that are available and there’s guys who you get to watch grow into these roles.Tim Ambrose
Before Hain, the previous caps were handed out to William Porterfield in 2014 and Keith Barker, Boyd Rankin and Chris Wright in 2013, with the latter three all moving to pastures new this winter.
That has left a leadership void with Ambrose at the top of the tree at 36-years-young.
But for the former England star age is irrelevant. Warwickshire head into the 2019 campaign with 22 registered players at an average of 25.77 and for Ambrose, who’s heading into his 19thdomestic season, he’s excited to see them adapt to their new roles.
“There were a few of us talking about how it’s quite hard to get a cap here,” said Ambrose who captained all three days of the Bears pre-season friendly against Worcestershire.
“I think going forward in that regard, the caps that will be awarded in the next few years are probably going to have a bit more weight than they did in the past.
“In some teams you’d have ten to twelve capped players where maybe it’s slightly more of a role, more prestige and maybe a little bit more money.
“But certainly, the next few players that get capped will be based on their leadership ability and it’s going to come with more responsibility that maybe it has in the past.
“There’s a number of guys who in my opinion are very close to being capped and I think it’s taking on another level of responsibility and it certainly will within this young group.
“It’s exciting when you see these young players and the positions that are available and there’s guys who you get to watch grow into these roles.
“Where this team goes in the next three to five years will be led by this group of players and the key figures in there.
“What their ideas and plans are for this team is going to be exciting to watch, but also from some of them coming in with not that much experience, taking on these roles I think will help in the future to have that sense of responsibility and leadership that you wouldn’t go seeking in other teams.”
Two standout leaders for the Bears are County Championship openers Dom Sibley and Will Rhodes.
Sibley is the club’s vice-captain, whilst Rhodes has captain experience with England U19s and the Yorkshire Academy.
The pair scored 1,753 first-class runs between them last season, which featured eight centuries at four apiece and Ambrose believes they’ve stepped up following their first full season at Edgbaston.
“I think they both stood out at the backend of last year,” Ambrose added.
“Dom obviously is vice-captain and taken on a bit more leadership that he probably wouldn’t have expected at other places.
“But there’s a number of guys and the good thing is they come from a place where at the moment, especially the last year or two, where the work ethic has been great.
“We had a season of winning last year, which helps a lot with the guys confidence and helps you build that belief around yourself, especially after the year before which was tough.
“I think if you look at half a dozen guys who are nailing down a spot and making a mark to where they want to be it’s exciting to see them then go into these roles because I think they’re coming from a great place.
“And as I’ve said they’re going to build further on this culture we’re developing at the moment.
“It’s a good group of lads, good ethic and culture and hopefully that goes forward into the season.”
Ambrose heads into the season fully recovered from an illness, which knocked him back before Christmas.
The ‘keeper, who scored 851 runs in all competitions last season, was rested during the recent 165-run friendly win over Derbyshire with Alex Mellor taking over behind the stumps.
That could be a familiar sight for Bears fans in the Vitality Blast with Ambrose admitting the time might be right to look at long-term options.
“I don’t know if I’ll figure in a T20 and It’s probably a good opportunity to have a look at Alex (Mellor) and some other young ‘keepers in the Academy,” said Ambrose who has one-year left on his contract.
“It’s probably a good format to have a look for the future and see what they’ve got there going forward, because I think my role is quite limited in T20.
“As I’ve always said about contributing and making a difference in games, in T20 last year it was hard to make a mark.
“There isn’t a lot of work behind the stumps so that can get frustrating and sometimes it might be worth getting some fresh blood in there.
“We’ve seen over the years in T20 you can put some young kids in there with talent and a little bit of freedom and it can be a real stepping stone for them.
“That’ll be exciting to watch, but I’m keen to play every game they select me for.”