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After last week’s defeat at Essex, we find ourselves approaching the halfway stage of the season in a massive battle to stay in Specsavers County Championship Division One.

There is no hiding away from that and nor would I, as captain, want there to be. It’s fine taking the plaudits when you are winning titles or celebrating one-day final triumphs at Lord’s, but it is times like this when you find out what you and other people are really made of.

I think back to the late 1990s and around 2006 and 2007 when we had come off successful periods and had to go through the process of changing the squad. They were difficult times and yet we came out the other side.

Ian Bell

I can assure members and supporters reading this that the players and coaching staff are hurting as much as anybody. A good number of the squad have been with Warwickshire a long time, the club is extremely close to our hearts and we desperately want to be successful.

I can totally understand the frustrations of our supporters. Before I started playing, I was a Junior Bear and used to sit in the stands watching the team. When it’s not going well, people are going to be critical and I was no different back then.

Our supporters have every right to be disappointed with the way the season has gone but the one thing I would ask is that they stick with us as much as possible for the remainder of the Championship and T20 season.

This is a testing time for the club and, truth be told, our Championship form hasn’t been good over the last three years.

There may well be more pain to come before things improve – but we have been here before and come through it and will do so again.

I think back to the late 1990s and around 2006 and 2007 when we had come off successful periods and had to go through the process of changing the squad. They were difficult times and yet we came out the other side.

Over the last few years, I think we are the only county to have won major trophies in all three formats of the game. Yes, there are other counties that have won certain competitions more than us but we are very proud that we have been successful across the spectrum.

Our aim now is to recreate those times and make Warwickshire the number one county in the country.

It’s going to take a lot of hard work to get there and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a number of changes to the squad over the next 12 to 18 months.

There are no quick fixes and overnight solutions. Cricket isn’t like football where you can go out and rebuild your squad in a few weeks.

It’s going to take time but we will get there. We have got some fantastic people at the club who are determined to bring the glory days back to Warwickshire and they are currently working hard behind the scenes to both recruit players from outside the club and to develop our youngsters

Over the last 10 to 12 years, we haven’t got a great track record of people coming through the academy but, with Ashley Giles busily planning for the future, we are determined to put that right.
We have got a talented crop of young talent and the likes of Andy Umeed and George Panayi are getting their chances at first team level.

They need to be given time to progress and patience will be vital but we are hoping that some of the young players we have got now can be real stars of the future for the club.

You may have read this week that Ian Westwood has retired from cricket. It came as a bit of a surprise when I heard but Ian has obviously thought long and hard about his decision.

We have got a talented crop of young talent and the likes of Andy Umeed and George Panayi are getting their chances at first team level.

Ian Bell

As a former captain who has scored a lot of runs for us, Ian has been a great servant to the club and we wish him well for whatever the future has in store.

We held our annual Community Day on Sunday. It was great to see plenty of people down at the stadium and the players enjoyed meeting the supporters who continue to follow us through thick and thin.

One of the most pleasing aspects of the day was to see so many youngsters leaving the ground with bats and ready to take their first steps in cricket.

The club and our sponsors Selco Builders Warehouse have teamed up to give away 1,000 bats into the community throughout the summer, 200 of which went on Sunday.

It is a great initiative to encourage the next generation of cricket – and hopefully Bears – stars along their way and I look forward to seeing the bats in action on my travels around Birmingham.