Continuing to build a winning culture and trying to achieve successive Championships. That’s the mandate that Will Rhodes will have when his side takes the field in April.
It will certainly be a tall order, especially with the county circuit ready to knock the Bears off their perch, but it’s definitely achievable.
That’s the opinion of Tim Munton, a man who undoubtedly understands the rigours of uniting a dressing whilst trying to mount a back-to-back challenge.
“They’ve set a standard which Dennis Amiss talked about,” Munton said at the Champions Dinner.
“It’s great to do it once, and rightfully so they’ll have a great winter, but they’ve set themselves a bar to hopefully do it again.”
In 1994, Munton led the bowling attack with 81 championship wickets at 21.54 runs apiece, whilst captaining the team in nine games when Dermot Reeve was injured. Of those nine, Warwickshire won eight.
In a dressing-room full of strong personalities, his calm aura was a huge influence in keeping the squad heading in a united direction. It would be fair to say that members of that treble-winning side won’t be exchanging Christmas cards this winter, but they clubbed together and worked together on the field.
That extra ingredient brought success in 1995 too – a Championship and NatWest double – and from watching from the sidelines, the former England seamer thinks the current side has the perfect recipe.
“It was a brilliant end to a tough season,” Munton added. “I had the great privilege of being sat in the stands on that final day against Somerset, and it was great to see a bunch of guys enjoy each other’s company and evolve and develop over the past couple of years.
“It showed an understanding of each other and their roles in the team. They backed each other, and we’ve had a few chats tonight about the fun stuff that goes on, but the bottom line is that when you’ve got a bunch of guys who come together like they have – like that side in the 90s, which I was lucky to be a part of – you got to a point where you knew where everyone was around, and you have confidence in each other.
“You knew your job, and you had to do it, but you had confidence in your teammates, and you could see that was a part of its makeup.
“To see them come through is fantastic, and night’s like tonight, it is great to see the whole club unite around it. That’s what winning trophies does.”
Arriving at Edgbaston in 1984 after a spell at Leicestershire, Munton’s career has glittered with accolades.
Two Tests for England, six trophies with the Bears, three Warwickshire Player of the Season awards and Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1995 were all rewards for a career that surpassed 1,000 wickets.
It would be easy for ‘Munts’ to take a back seat and watch from afar, but that’s not his style.
The Melton Mowbray native is almost ever-present on an Edgbaston match day, so it was no surprise to see him reliving every ball.
“It was Allan Donald who texted me in the middle of the pandemic saying lots of other clubs have WhatsApp groups,” Munton concluded. “Send me some numbers, and I’ll get it going.
“I was pinging pictures and messages on the group, and it was almost a running commentary to guys all over the world.
“It is that family sense if you like that the Bears have, and this week it’s been about Allan Donald becoming a granddad.
“It’s a fantastic club with lots of history, but when you hear guys come from other clubs just saying what a great place it is to play cricket – it’s a privilege to hear that. We’ve got a good crop of players to follow and watch over the coming years.”
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