Allan Donald and Gladstone Small have been voted the Greatest Ever Bears New Ball Pair with a massive 80 per cent of the vote.

Five fantastic pairs of opening bowlers – Foster and Field, Pritchard and Grove, Willis and Brown, Donald and Small, Wright and Barker – were on the short-list but, A.D and Glad, both Warwickshire legends in their own right, came out emphatically on top.

From backgrounds as different as can be – Donald from Bloemfontein, South Africa and Small from Barbados, West Indies, and then, from the age of 14, Birmingham – they came together at Edgbaston and became a fearsome opening attack…and the firmest of lifelong friends.

Donald, who joined the Bears in 1987 when Small was already well-established, recalled: “Gladstone was a massive influence on me. He was so quiet and calm on the field and spoke to me so much about bowling and came up with ideas.

“I never had a proper bowling coach but Gladstone was pretty much my unofficial bowling coach. He also became a very good friend and really helped me settle at Warwickshire.”

Allan Donald

Donald and Small… has there been a better new-ball pair anywhere in the history of county cricket?