First-team coach Jim Troughton wants his Warwickshire team to be “clinical” in their cricket when their face Oxford MCCU at The Parks in their final pre-season friendly starting tomorrow.
The three-day game against the students provides the Bears’ last warm-up before they begin their Specsavers County Championship Division One campaign, against Surrey at The Oval next Friday.
With pre-season preparations reaching the fine-tuning stage, Warwickshire will field a strong side in The Parks. All the senior squad are back in Birmingham apart from Jeetan Patel, who will arrive from New Zealand on Tuesday, and Chris Woakes who has departed to join Kolkata Knight Riders for the Indian Premier League.
And the first-team coach wants his players to extract every drop of practice value from the three days in Oxford.
“When we played the two-dayer against Northamptonshire and in all our practice games, while we understand they are not the real thing, the guys applied themselves and used the games to get in the right habits,” Troughton said. “It will be no different at Oxford. First of all we have got to start well and do all the things we talked about in pre-season and be clinical.
“We will go down there and take the game very seriously and put in as good a performance as we can. We will select as close a team as we can to the one we are thinking of picking for the game The Oval.”
To the players’ relief, the weather forecast for the next three days is not only largely dry but relatively mild. The tree-ringed Parks, which first hosted first-class cricket in 1881, is a lovely venue especially when the sun-shining but is bitterly-cold when the wind blows, as many fielders and spectators can testify.
“Yes, it can be bracing,” said Troughton. “I’ve still got a bone-bruise in my hand from a blow I took there on a cold day in 2005! It can get pretty challenging but the forecast is not too bad and anyway the guys have got a lot of nice new kit so would get a chance to use it.”
- Ian Bell (Captain)
- Tim Ambrose (Wicket-Keeper)
- Keith Barker
- Rikki Clarke
- Sam Hain
- Oliver Hannon-Dalby
- Ateeq Javid
- Alex Mellor (Wicket-Keeper
- William Porterfield
- Sunny Singh
- Mitchell Spencer
- Grant Thornton
- Jonathan Trott
- Ian Westwood
- Chris Wright