Ed Barnard knows he has a lot of high-class acts to follow if he is to nail down the seam-bowling all-rounder’s slot at Edgbaston. 

After joining Warwickshire from neighbours Worcestershire, the 27-year-old is eyeing the first-team role that has been filled with such distinction in recent years by the likes of Rikki Clarke, Neil Carter, Keith Barker, Tim Bresnan and Chris Woakes. 

But, speaking from Adelaide where he is spending two months with Sturt District CC playing grade cricket, Barnard insists he can’t wait to get stuck into the challenge. 

“I know some amazing all-rounders have gone before but that’s the role I want to play at Edgbaston,” he said. “I want to be that player in the team. Those guys have all done incredibly well so I will just do the best I can to try to emulate them with bat and ball and in the field and nail down a spot in the XI and help the Bears to some trophies. Hopefully, Woakesy will be around quite a bit this summer so it would be amazing to learn off him. 

“I get itchy feet if I am not involved so I love the all-rounder’s role. It’s a constant challenge – there are challenges in every department of the game at different times and trying to balance them all is something I really enjoy. It’s why I work so hard in the off-season to be in the best place I can be at the start of every season.” 

That work is currently taking place in South Australia until early March as Barnard plays some cricket…and gets some sun on his back. 

“It’s the top level of amateur cricket in Adelaide, similar standard to Birmingham League, and I’m really enjoying it,” he said. “There are some very good cricketers around and a lot of English lads because there’s no limit on overseas players. In the first winter without Covid restrictions a lot of lads are taking the chance to get abroad and play some cricket.  

“I played a two-day game over the last two Saturdays and got a couple of wickets which was nice and had a little bat at the end, about 15 not out, so that was a good way to start. I also played in a three-day game. Mark Cosgrove, who is South Australia’s 2nd XI coach, put together a team of English lads who are out here and we played a South Australia 2nd XI.   

“I’m doing a lot of gym work in the week and working hard and also getting a bit of time on the beach which is a bit nicer than it sounds back home. I’m not too homesick right now.” 

This is the sun-drenched bit of Barnard’s winter, but he very much enjoyed his time working with the Bears in Birmingham before Christmas – his first experience of Edgbaston as home.  

“It was really nice to have two months to get to know the lads and feel at home before I came away,” he said. “It was mainly fitness work but I also did some technical stuff, ready for this trip. I very quickly felt comfortable with the lads and the staff and it will be great to get back in March and start stepping up preparation towards the season.” 

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