Warwickshire director of cricket Dougie Brown wants his side to assert themselves “from ball one” when they face Somerset in their penultimate Specsavers County Championship match of the season tomorrow.
The Bears travel to Taunton with work still to do to make absolutely sure of retaining their Division One status. With two games left they sit 17 points above eighth-placed Hampshire so one more win, or even a draw with good bonus points, would do the job.
The latter is much less likely at Taunton than it used to be. A venue which was for so long a batsman’s paradise now tends to offer result-wickets with the spinners very much in the game. So over the next four days Warwickshire must deliver championship cricket of a sustained quality which has too often eluded them this season.
“It will be a real battle because both teams need points for different reasons,” Brown said. “We need them to make sure we don’t get sucked into trouble and Somerset need them to get into the prize-money places.
“They tend to be result-wickets at Taunton these days so we will have to be right on our game. Too often this season we have played some really good cricket but then taken our eye off the ball in a bad session which you just can’t afford to do in championship cricket.
“We have got to go down there, be on it from ball one and then assert ourselves every hour and every session, get ahead of the game and stay ahead of it.”
It would certainly be helpful if, at last, in September, captain Ian Bell could win his first championship toss of the season.
“We have lost ten tosses, which hasn’t helped,” said Brown. “Of course, teams win games after losing the toss but we have played on plenty of pitches which have spun later and where the toss has been pretty crucial.
“But whatever happens with the toss the guys have got to go out there and play the good, patient cricket they are capable of, show their skills and be ruthless.”
Warwickshire will make a change at the top of the order with Varun Chopra left out from the squad. Tim Ambrose, who missed the last game at home to Middlesex due to a buttock strain, will have his injury assessed on the morning of the match whilst Ateeq Javid is included in the squad as additional spin-bowling option.
“Varun’s form in recent weeks has been disappointing and with just two County Championship games to go, the team management believe it’s important to make this change and start to look at a new opening partnership that can continue forward in the future,” said Brown.
“Once again we thank Varun for his contribution for Warwickshire CCC over the years and wish him the very best for the future.”
- Ian Bell (Captain)
- Tim Ambrose (Wicket-Keeper)
- Keith Barker
- Rikki Clarke
- Sam Hain
- Oliver Hannon-Dalby
- Ateeq Javid
- Alex Mellor (Wicket-Keeper)
- Jeetan Patel
- Josh Poysden
- Jonathan Trott
- Ian Westwood
- Chris Wright