Will Rhodes believes Warwickshire's two early-season Specsavers County Championship wins are like "gold dust" in the quest for promotion back to the Division One.
Emphatic victories over Northamptonshire and Derbyshire have given the Bears the strong foundation so important in the context of a long four-day campaign.
Warwickshire sit top of the table as they prepare to face Northamptonshire at Edgbaston on Friday. And the Bears are aiming to deliver more of the same solid cricket which powered them to victory by an innings at Northampton and by eight wickets at home to Derbyshire.
We’ve got to make ourselves a tough side to beat at home and if we get some solid points against Northants, whether it’s from a draw or another win, it will set us up beautifully going into the one-dayers.Will Rhodes
“Any win early in the season is like gold dust and to get the points we have done to put us top of the league is fantastic,” Rhodes said.
“We’ll just try to keep the ball rolling. We’ve got to make ourselves a tough side to beat at home and if we get some solid points against Northants, whether it’s from a draw or another win, it will set us up beautifully going into the one-dayers.”
All-rounder Rhodes has settled quickly with the Bears following his move from Yorkshire and played his full part in both wins so far. His innings of 44 and 50 in the two games helped lay a base for an important first-innings lead.
With the ball, his medium-pace – 15-4-35-0 – has been an important component of the pressure-building which earned wickets for the likes of Ryan Sidebottom, Henry Brookes and Jeetan Patel.
“It’s always good to put in a contribution to a team win,” he said. “It’s never nice to get strangled down the leg side, as I was against Derbyshire, but avoiding that will come with time. I am working on a few technical things.
“For me it’s all about trying to set it up for the guys down the order, Belly and Trotty and Hainy. If I can get off to a good start and build a platform for those guys then they can kick on.
“The batters have done a great job this season and the bowlers have been outstanding in the last two games, especially Siddy at Northants and Brookesy and Jeets against Derbyshire.
“Sometimes you get two lads who take the wickets and a couple who miss out, that’s part and parcel of bowling. It’s all about a collective effort and that means some guys holding up an end and doing a job. In the Derbyshire game it was me and Wrighty who did that and if we can just keep them to scoring at one or two an over then fine, that’s our role. On a turning pitch Jeets was the one with the attacking fields.
“The important thing is we’re looking good as a unit. There are things we will try to fine-tune but it’s been a perfect start.”