Liam Norwell is determined to use his England Lions call-up as an opportunity to improve himself as a Warwickshire cricketer.
The seamer joins fellow Bears opener, Rob Yates, in the squad after a season that saw him take 54 first-class wickets (49 County Championship, 5 Bob Willis Trophy).
The 29-year-old – who is currently isolating as part of Australian protocols – endured a difficult three years since joining from Gloucestershire due to injury, but Norwell is driven to improve and learn from the best.
“It’s my eleventh year as a professional so it’s something I’ve worked a long time for,” said Norwell. “It’s going to be a great experience and something I’ve got to cherish and learn from when I’m out there.
“I’ve had a pretty torrid couple of years since I joined the Bears as I’ve only completed four games in my last there seasons. I played 13 games this season plus a handful of the second team matches so to play the amount of cricket I did – plus 50-over and T20 on top – I was delighted. I’ve always backed my ability when I am fit, but with 50 wickets plus the Bob Willis Trophy, I didn’t think I’d go that well.
“We’re shadowing the main Ashes squad and all the big dogs as you’d say are out there – Anderson, Broad and Woakes – so they’re people I can learn from. I’ve got to see it as a great learning experience and try and improve myself as much as possible and come back a better cricketer. That’ll benefit me and the Bears.”
Incredibly modest, Norwell admits he was surprised to receive the call despite the impressive campaign. However, since being selected the realisation of a first international tour has come from an influx of calls from England and Bears coaches.
“Go out there, do you and just try to improve your cricket the best you can,” Norwell added when asked what advice he’d received. “If you can ruffle some feathers and push your way Into the main squad then great. If not, then just go out and give a good account for yourself. When you get the chance to play Australia A, really give it your all.
“Farby (Paul Farbrace) rang me after I got the call to say I was selected. From his own experience, he thinks the pitches will suit me as I’ve got a bit of an angle and I get some bounce. Hopefully, I can use that to my advantage but the big thing – which we’ve eluded to – is to come back a better cricketer. That’s the key thing over the next six weeks and learn from the best in the world. I’ve got to make sure I don’t put too much pressure on myself as it’s an experience I might never get again.”
Whilst Norwell prepares for the six week battle down under, the Bears returned to pre-season training last week. Looking to take their improving fitness to the next level, the focus has already shifted towards next year with Will Rhodes’ side looking to defend the County Championship title, with an eye of also adding the ninth one to the cabinet.
The squad were able to rest, recuperate and reflect after the Bob Willis Trophy success with a five-week break, but Norwell admits that their final day euphoria against Somerset is still on the tip of their tongues.
“It took a little while to sink in,” the Redruth native concluded. “From how we won it and to then win the Bob Willis Trophy it was all a bit of a blur.
“Some of the lads went on a golf trip last week and the main topic was chatting about the Championship. The lads I’ve caught up with for coffees or at weddings – it’s all we’ve chatted about. It might sound a little bit sad but after the season we’ve had I can’t blame the lads.
“I’ve had a couple of weeks with the family to let it sink in but I couldn’t be prouder of the lads and the club of how we managed to get it done.
“Whenever I talk to my friends at home it’s the first thing that comes up. To be part of a County Championship winning team was one of the reasons to join Warwickshire so I couldn’t be happier. It’s something that will live with us for a long time.”