The Academy graduate reflects on a season which saw him earn his first-class debut against Somerset.
George Garrett reflects with pride on a 2019 season which saw him fully capitalise on a surprise call-up to Warwickshire’s first team.
Swing-bowler Garrett began the season as a 19-year-old member of the Bears academy with his sights set on shining in the 2nds.
I just tried not to over-complicate things and do what I had been doing with some success in the 2nd XI.George Garett
He achieved that – so much so that, with the senior seam attack ravaged by injuries, he earned a call-up to the firsts.
Garrett played three Specsavers County Championship matches and impressed. He opened his first-class wicket account with the scalps of Somerset’s George Bartlett and Babar Azam at Edgbaston, added those of top-order men Dan Lawrence and Nick Browne when Warwickshire dominated Essex in the next game, and then contributing four important wickets to the victory over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
His skilful work continued an impressive response from a player who is living proof that rejection at county trials at an early age is, by no means, necessarily the end of the road.
“When I was 13 I was rejected by the Bears and was a bit taken aback,” he recalls. “But I kept plugging away for Shrewsbury School and then for Shrewsbury in the Birmingham League and luckily my chance came along.
“I was so chuffed to play a couple of first-team games this year. I didn’t start the season particularly well in the 2nds but did a lot of work with second-team coach Ian Westwood, who is a great mentor, and as the season went on something clicked.
“I had played against Somerset in the UAE on the pre-season tour so it was great to make my debut against them. Bowling to Babar Azam was amazing but I probably bowled my best to him because I knew I had to.
“In the first team the pitches are flatter and the batters are better but the basics of bowling are the same. I just tried not to over-complicate things and do what I had been doing with some success in the 2nd XI.
“I am never going to be a bowler who lets it go at 90 miles an hour but I like to ask the batsmen a lot of questions and make them defend. If the ball is swinging I can swing it both ways which is useful.
“It came out well for me at Trent Bridge which was great because it is a fantastic ground and my grandfather was president of Nottinghamshire in 1969 and 1970 so every time I walked out on to the field I went past his photo on the wall. I really enjoyed bowling there, especially with having Olly Hannon-Dalby at mid-off. He is a great advisor and led the attack so well and it was really good having him there to talk to me.”
Garrett’s passion for cricket is deep, nurtured by years watching his dad play home and away for Harpenden CC. The Hertfordshire club has six teams and Garrett, with the club from the age of four, played for them all en route to professional cricket.
Now studying history at the University of Birmingham, he knows his challenge with the Bears next season will be to nail down a place in a bowling attack which should be much less depleted by injuries.
“If everyone is fit we have a really strong squad, and not least the seam attack,” he said. “This year went really well for me but I have just got to keep working hard and improving and hopefully earn some more first-team games next season.”