Paul Farbrace believes the awarding of county caps is an important cricket tradition - and can also form a great connection between present and former players at Warwickshire.
When Will Rhodes and Olly Stone were awarded their caps at the start of the recent Northamptonshire game, they received them from Andy Lloyd and Paul Smith respectively, two men who made a massive contribution to the Bears in an earlier era.
It was the idea of sport director Farbrace to ask the former Bears to make the presentation. Lloyd and Smith were both delighted to do the honours and, in this way, believes Farbrace, an important further connection can be made between different generations of players.
“I spoke to a few people and said we should cap those two because they thoroughly deserve it,” he said. “Will has been a massive influence on the club since he has been here and Olly has been outstanding and only injuries have prevented him playing a lot more games for Warwickshire and England.
“I thought Andy and Paul were very appropriate for the players concerned so it was great to get them back in. Andy captained the club and was a very strong leader who played the game very hard and passionately on the field. When he was on my table at the wonderful dinner for former players last year, it was a joy to listen to him talk with such love and affection for this club.Paul Farbrace
“Andy was thrilled to be asked and spoke absolutely brilliantly when he handed Will his cap last Saturday morning. Paul has that same passion. He still watches a lot of cricket at Edgbaston and has played a massive part in the club’s history and was perfect to present Olly’s cap.
“I am a real traditionalist. Some clubs have got rid of caps and that’s entirely up to them, but I really like the idea of capping people and letting them know they are part of the club and part of something very special.
“Players want to earn their county cap because it means something. It’s not just something given to them as part of their kit at the start of the season – it’s something that you work towards and earn.
“It’s not just for the players themselves. It’s recognition for their families who spend hours and hours travelling round to support them when they are kids, taking them to practices and games, and for their friends, and for all the people who have helped along the way.
“You could see from Olly’s reaction how much it meant. He has played for England and has an England cap, but you could see it meant everything to him.”
Through the excellent Warwickshire Old County Cricketers Association, the club has strong links with its former players and Farbrace is keen to build on these.
“Jason Ratcliffe and Keith Cook do a brilliant job with WOCCA, they really do,” he said. ” The dinner last year that Neil Snowball and Keith Cook organised was a fantastic event. Whether it was a club legend or a guy who played only a couple of games for the club or someone who has only just started like George Garrett, the pride in being a Bear shone through. “It is massively important that we keep this bond with former players. Geoff Humpage dropped me a really passionate email last year about the club and I invited him in for lunch and we have chatted a few times. These guys still care so much and have got a lot still to offer the club.”