There is always a bit of buzz around a new NatWest T20 Blast season when we switch into Birmingham Bears mode and tomorrow night will be no different.
Regular readers of this column will know I’m a huge fan of the longer format of the game but it’s always great to be involved in a fast-moving T20.
It’s difficult to make any predictions over what might happen over the next month but I am excited about the squad we have got available.
We got off to a flying start to the group stages last season before falling away and we have strengthened with the New Zealand duo of Grant Elliott and Colin de Grandhomme, who will both give us extra firepower in the middle order.Ian Bell
We got off to a flying start to the group stages last season before falling away and we have strengthened with the New Zealand duo of Grant Elliott and Colin de Grandhomme, who will both give us extra firepower in the middle order.
While there are no guarantees, there is also a chance that we may see Chris Woakes for a game or two as he works his way back to full fitness and an England spot.
It’s an exciting start with tomorrow’s trip to Worcestershire Rapids followed by a Saturday night home match at Edgbaston with Notts Outlaws in front of the television cameras.
T20 cricket is all about momentum so hopefully we can get off to a good start and build as the season goes on.
Before donning the coloured clothing for around a month, we had a very important Specsavers County Championship Division One game at home to Middlesex which was due to come to a conclusion today.
I was gutted to miss that game with an elbow injury but I’m hoping to be fit for tomorrow and Saturday.
I’ve had a niggling issue with my elbow for quite some time now but we have managed it so that I’ve been fine for games.
I was in a lot of pain with it last Friday so it was the only real choice to sit out the Middlesex match, even though I desperately wanted to be out there leading the lads.
Hopefully all Bears followers could see some signs of progress from the team in the recent day-night game against Lancashire.
It was a shame the final day was washed out because it was building up to an exciting conclusion, but there was plenty for us to take heart from, not the least the performances of two of our youngsters.
George Panayi bowled extremely well during the game and, while he will be the first to admit he is not the finished article just yet, at just 19 he showed a huge amount of promise.
The century in the first innings from Andy Umeed should also give him a huge amount of confidence. Jimmy Anderson threw the kitchen sink and more at him and Andy not only withstood the challenge but went onto make three figures.
The game represented the first taste of day-night domestic four-day in England and I hope now that there is a consultation with supporters over how they found the new experience.
From a players’ point of view, it was good to be part of something different but it certainly led to a change in our routines. We weren’t getting home until after midnight so it was a week of sleeping in the spare room for me to try and prevent waking the rest of the family up!
like to welcome our new signing Will Rhodes from Yorkshire. He’s a very good recruit for us – a genuine all-rounder who can bat anywhere in the top six and someone who will bring great leadership qualities to the dressing room.Ian Bell
Having experienced it now, I think there is room in the calendar for one day-night County Championship match per season.
Any more would be too many for me but I think the England-West Indies day-night Test Match at Edgbaston next month will be an outstanding atmosphere.
Finally, I’d like to welcome on board our new signing Will Rhodes from Yorkshire. He’s a very good recruit for us – a genuine all-rounder who can bat anywhere in the top six and someone who will bring great leadership qualities to the dressing room.
At 22, he is another young player with a bright future.