I’m very excited to be leading Warwickshire in our defence of the Royal London One-Day Cup, starting today with a trip to Northamptonshire.
Winning the trophy by defeating Surrey in the final at Lord’s seven months ago ranks as one of the highlights of my career and I would love to emulate it again this year.
I captained the team when we beat Somerset in 2010 but that was in a stand-in role after I returned to the club following a summer with England.
As I’ve documented in this column previously, the first two performances of the season weren’t good enough but there were signs against Surrey at Edgbaston last weekend that we are starting to execute our skills as we know we can.Ian Bell
To win silverware last season, my first as official club captain, was an amazing feeling and I genuinely feel that we have the squad to compete once again.
The bowlers have always performed well in this format and – with the likes of myself, Jonathan Trott, William Porterfield and others – we have plenty of batsman who have great experience in the 50-over game, both for Warwickshire and on the international stage.
That said, we couldn’t have asked for a tougher start in a game which will be shown live on Sky Sports. Over the last few years, Northamptonshire have proved that, when the white balls come out, they are a match for anyone and I expect them to be contenders in both the Royal London One-Day Cup and NatWest T20 Blast in 2017.
We then face Durham at Edgbaston on Monday before travelling to Leicestershire on Tuesday. It’s a busy week and my main hope is that it warms up a little!
On Tuesday, I popped to Moseley to watch our seconds play Worcestershire and it was freezing. I think at one stage snow stopped play and I was certainly happy to be watching from my car rather than being out in the field!
We go into the Royal London One-Day Cup section of the season in higher spirits after stopping the rot in four-day cricket.
As I’ve documented in this column previously, the first two performances of the season weren’t good enough but there were signs against Surrey at Edgbaston last weekend that we are starting to execute our skills as we know we can.
Returning from his broken foot, Ian Westwood led the way with a brilliant 153 in the first innings and it was great to see him get a ‘daddy hundred’ back in the team opening the innings.
If I was being picky, we should have got 400 or 450 in the first innings rather than 332 and, facing a deficit of 100, we were under big pressure in the second innings. But credit to the lads, they responded really well as we batted our way to a draw and give us a platform to build on moving forward.
It was pleasing to see Tim Ambrose back to his best with the bat in the second innings and, from a personal point of view, I was satisfied with my form, although it was a little frustrating to miss out on a century after reaching 99.
I’ve done a lot of work on my game over the past couple of weeks and felt the rhythm coming back in the first innings when I scored 33 so hopefully there will be more runs to come in the batch of 50-over matches we now face.
Warwickshire entertain Durham in the Royal London One-Day Cup on Bank Holiday Monday (1 May) at Edgabston; 11am start.
Adult tickets are priced at £15 at all times, whilst Under 16s go completely FREE.