Bears T20 skipper Carlos Braithwaite has been at Edgbaston this week as preparations start to step up for the new season.

West Indies ace Braithwaite spent Monday and Tuesday with the Bears, practicing and sharing a few early thoughts on the 2022 Vitality Blast campaign with coaches and team-mates.

He will spent an increasing amount of time around the Bears camp, playing a couple a 2nd XI games in April and then more in May, ahead of the Blast opener at home to Northants Steelbacks on May 26.

As to be expected from a member of a T20 World Cup-winning team, Brathwaite is setting the bar high. Finals Day is the Bears’ mission and it’s one in which he expects the fans at Edgbaston to play a big part.

“The crowd at Edgbaston really makes a difference. With the support from the Hollies and the crowd in general, it’s a really great atmosphere and there are a lot of games when the crowd really helps bring the team back into the game at times when it’s going against us.

Carlos Brathwaite

“Players respond to that sort of backing and we want to make our home a fortress which is what all the best teams in the world do. In the IPL, Chennai always win in Chennai. Closer to home, Notts Outlaws seldom lose at home. That’s what we are striving for.

“After a couple of years of not qualifying, our aim last year, was to qualify for the quarter-finals and we did that. This year, we want to get on a run and take that momentum into the quarter-finals and then on into Finals Day, when we would be at home again and just two wins from lifting the trophy.”

Brathwaite’s presence in the squad adds high quality with bat and ball to a team which will take some selecting of everyone is fit and available.

“That’s a good problem to have,” the skipper said. “All good teams have competition places with one or two players who aren’t in the team who people think should be playing. If we lose a game or two, then it is great to have those options. If we get midway through the campaign and are winning, it’s unfortunate for those who are left out, but shows the strength of the squad.

“I am very excited about our squad this year. We have Chris Benjamin who burst on to the scene last year and will be looking to stake his claim as a mainstay. Alex Davies has come in with all his power and Jake Bethell will probably come to the fore a lot more after his England Under19s exploits.  It will just be a matter of seeing who starts the season well and what sort of plans the coach and myself want to employ.”