A long time seems to have passed since we last played a game in the Specsavers County Championship Division One but all Warwickshire followers can rest assured we are ready and raring to go at Somerset tomorrow.
It’s a big four days for us and a game we are all really looking forward to.
One draw and two defeats from the first three games wasn’t the start we were hoping for but hopefully the next four days will prove a turning point in our Championship season.
Having come within a whisker of winning the title last season, I’m sure there will be a few raised eyebrows across the country to see Somerset having lost both their games so far.
This first division is so strong that nothing surprises me but we know we will have to produce a big performance to get a result.
It was great to end with a victory against a team who topped the division at the start of play but it was a bitter-sweet success because of the feeling of what might have been.Ian Bell
Taunton is gaining a reputation for being a spinning wicket and we have made sure some of our training has been tailored to that this week, practicing on old and “roughed up” wickets at Edgbaston to try and replicate conditions we will face.
But that’s not been our only preparation and, in addition, we have also done some regular training to ensure we are fully ready, whether it is turning square or we are greeted with a flat and true wicket.
Since my last column, our Royal London One-Day Cup campaign has come to an end, with defeats at Derbyshire and Worcestershire Rapids followed up a home victory over Yorkshire Vikings.
It was a great all-round performance against Yorkshire Vikings to register a relatively comfortable five wicket victory in a game where they were at full strength with all their England stars.
We bowled exceptionally well to keep them to under 300 on a good pitch and then batted impressively throughout to knock them off.
It was great to end with a victory against a team who topped the division at the start of play but it was a bitter-sweet success because of the feeling of what might have been.
I believe we are a good team in the 50 over format and, had we produced that Yorkshire performance in the majority of our games this season, I’m confident we would have been looking at a top three finish and qualification to the knockout stages.
As it is, we have provably not come out on top many times in the really crucial stages of the game and that has cost us.
There have been some positives though, one of which would be the performances of new addition Grant Thornton who followed up four wickets against Worcestershire Rapids on Friday with three against Yorkshire Vikings on Sunday.
The theme in the Royal London One-Day Cup this season has been aggression and, with the ball, that means trying to get a team six or seven wickets down after 40 overs to blunt their aggression in the last 10, rather than them being four down and being able to go hell for leather at the end.
Grant is a local lad and has proven that he can take wickets and I think there is still more to come from him in the pace department which is very encouraging.
From a personal point of view, it has been pleasing to get a century and a couple of 90s in the last week and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel I was hitting the ball well. But I would have sacrificed all those runs to have been leading the team into the knockout stages of the competition.