Sport director Ashley Giles says Warwickshire’s planning to bounce back hard from relegation has already begun as they prepare to face Yorkshire in their penultimate Specsavers County Championship match of the season tomorrow.
With two games left, the Bears’ fate is already sealed. Next season they will play Division Two championship cricket for the first time in ten years.
With the first-team squad in a period of deep transition it has been a difficult and dispiriting four-day campaign at Edgbaston. But as they prepare to face a Yorkshire side itself far from safe from the drop, Warwickshire must look forward, insists Giles, and aim to finish the season with good results against Yorkshire and then in the last game, against Hampshire at Edgbaston, next week.
“We have to try to keep our shape and discipline,” he said. “It’s important to us how we play our cricket and though we are disappointed and the guys are low on confidence we need to show a fair bit of skill but also a lot of fight looking in these last two games.
“This year’s gone. It’s now about the future and rather than wait until the winter, let’s start planning for next year now and try to finish with two good performances.
It’s a big game for them too and shows how unpredictable this season has been, between two sides who at the start of the season a lot of people thought would be up close to the top of the division.Ashley Giles
“Headingley is never an easy place to go but we have to go up there with a clean slate and say ‘right, let’s win every ball, every session and go from there.’ It’s a big game for them too and shows how unpredictable this season has been, between two sides who at the start of the season a lot of people thought would be up close to the top of the division. “
Much thought and planning lies ahead during the winter for Giles and the coaching team at Edgbaston as they sort out how to move on from a championship season which has so far brought eight defeats in 12 games.
The bruising campaign has brought to a head the need for change in the squad and the transformation has already begun. While Ian Westwood has retired and William Porterfield and Ateeq Javid will leave at the end of the season, in have come Dominic Sibley, Ryan Sidebotom, Adam Hose and Will Rhodes, though the latter two cannot play championship cricket for the Bears this season.
Those new recruits, alongside talented, young home-grown players coming through the Edgbaston player pathway, will help, while many of the squad they have joined should still have plenty of good cricket left in them when confidence, understandably hit by this season, returns.
“It’s a pretty average game when things are not going well because you have to keep going out there and doing your job,” Giles said. “If you are low on confidence you can end up battling with yourself rather than the opposition. That’s something we have to get away from.
“You can over-complicate things. Ultimately it comes down to doing the basics well and Essex have done the basics really well this season and put opponents under consistent pressure, the way we did when we won the title in 2012. That’s what we’ve got to get back to.”
Trott*, Ambrose†, Banks, Bell, Javid, Lamb, Panayi, Patel, Rankin, Sibley, Sidebottom, Thomason, Thomson and Wright