Director of cricket Dougie Brown admits that Birmingham Bears are facing some “difficult calls” selection-wise in view of the competition for places in the first-team squad.
And nowhere more so than at the top of the order where former captain Varun Chopra is set to find himself back on the sidelines tomorrow night – after smashing an unbeaten 97 against Durham Jets last week.
Called into the team two hours before the game when Sam Hain was ruled out by a bout of food poisoning, Chopra responded with a career-best knock to power the Bears to a nine-wicket win.
But as Brown and captain Ian Bell keep an eye on the future, 20-year-old Hain will return to the team tomorrow when Yorkshire Vikings visit Edgbaston in the NatWest T20 Blast.
“In white-ball cricket my thoughts are very much centred around roles,” Brown said. “It’s less about the personnel than about roles that certain people are able to play within a game.
“We think that Sam Hain is a very fine young player who is going to be around for the next ten years ago and we need to give him an opportunity to play white-ball cricket. That being the case, we have to make some difficult calls
“In T20 and 50-over cricket we really want to play with verve and intent and we think Sam has those attributes in abundance – and we want to utilise that.
“At the moment it’s difficult on Varun. He had an opportunity in the T20 game last week when Sam was ill and did brilliantly so that’s great credit to him. Varun came in and played an outstanding innings for the team and no doubt if another batter goes down then he will be the one that steps up. William Porterfield departs for international duty with Ireland later this month, which will present an opportunity.
“But it doesn’t make any difference to what we have set out to do this season because Sam is the one we want to give an opportunity to.”
Brown and Bell face the eternal dilemma of any management structure – balancing the quest for success in the immediate term with building for success in the future.
“With the talented young players we have got here and input from the senior players we can build something special,” Brown said. “But at times people will be left out.
“It’s a hard part off the job when you tell someone they are not playing and when you have a squad of the depth we have there are a number of those sorts of conversations to have. But the bottom line is Belly and I have a job to do. Winning games is one part of it, developing our squad is another.”
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