The Bears skipper was delighted to see a strong crowd at Edgbaston for Warwickshire's Royal London One Day Cup opener against Yorkshire Vikings on Good Friday.
Warwickshire captain Jeetan Patel is banking on more “brilliant” backing for his young side at Edgbaston in their Royal London Cup home double-header this week.
The Bears fans turned up in force for the opening North Group home game against Yorkshire Vikings last Friday – and were royally rewarded with a scintillating contest which ended in a tie.
“We had a brilliant crowd in against Yorkshire and for so many people to come in and support us on an Easter weekend, when there are a lot of other things going on, was fantastic.Jeetan Patel
Next up at Edgbaston are Nottinghamshire tomorrow and Durham on Friday (both 11am starts) and the outcomes of those two matches will heavily shape the Bears’ group campaign.
Warwickshire will welcome back Chris Woakes tomorrow and the return of the England all-rounder is always a fillip for his county side. But Patel reckons that it is also the exciting talent coming through at Edgbaston that has attracted such good crowds so far this season, not only for the Vikings match but also for the opening two days of the first Specsavers County Championship game, against Kent.
Against Yorkshire, three Bears – Liam Banks, George Panayi and Alex Thomson – made their competition debut, while 19-year-old paceman Henry Brookes has taken three wickets in each of the first two RL Cup games so far.
“We had a brilliant crowd in against Yorkshire and for so many people to come in and support us on an Easter weekend, when there are a lot of other things going on, was fantastic,” Patel said. “I think getting crowds like that at Edgbaston is testament to our supporters but also to the young guys who are coming through because our supporters want to come and see them perform.
“The crowd last Friday certainly got their money’s worth for entertainment and I was really pleased with how our young guys did. We had three making their debut in the comp and it was a fantastic test for them. To see young guys making their way in the game is exciting and I think that’s why people are coming to watch.”
With Warwickshire hit by injuries to Olly Stone, Ian Bell, Adam Hose, Liam Norwell and Aaron Thomason, the younger players in the squad have an even more important part to play in the early weeks of this season. Patel is quite happy with them facing that challenge.
“We are at a stage where, yes, we have transitioned and now we have to start trusting these younger guys to go forward with their games,” he said. “They have spent time in the second team and they spent their whole winter honing their game for a chance to play at this level and now they are getting that chance.
“We have seen glimpses of how good they can be. Now we need them to learn as they go. In 50-over first-team cricket they are playing under match-pressure and it’s important that they just relax and do what they do well.
“We don’t what to interfere too much and ask them to do things they are not comfortable with. They have reached this level because they are good cricketers. Right now they just need to do what they do best and we need to promote that and back them.”