With plenty to prove after last year, Warwickshire’s players as a group can’t wait for the new to season to arrive so they can start putting a deeply disappointing 2017 behind them.
But nobody is looking forward to the new season more than new signing Will Rhodes.
After a couple of staccato years, the 23-year-old insists: “I just want to play.”
With a squad like ours it’s not going to be easy to get in the first team. Competition will be very strong but after the last couple of years, where I have not have had much first-team cricket, I just want to play.Will Rhodes
The all-rounder signed for the Bears from Yorkshire midway through last year but the White Rose would not allow him to make an immediate switch so he spent the second half of the season still in their 2nd XI.
That was frustrating for a player who has opened the batting for Yorkshire in the championship and played 58 first-team games for them across the formats.
Rhodes then did get some match-cricket under his belt during the winter down under when he played grade cricket for Willetton in Perth. But now he is hungrier than ever for first-team cricket with the Bears – and relishing settling in at Edgbaston after initially swapping the searing sun of Western Australia for the snow and ice of the West Midlands.
“It was 35 degrees when I left Perth and minus five when I landed back in England so it was a bit of an adjustment,” Rhodes said. “But I’ve really enjoyed settling in with the Bears.
“Whenever a club signs new players they want them to bring in new energy and that’s what I have tried to do. I just want to play – whether that is batting up top or lower down the order and hopefully being an asset to the bowling attack.
“With a squad like ours it’s not going to be easy to get in the first team. Competition will be very strong but after the last couple of years, where I have not have had much first-team cricket, I just want to play.”
With places up for grabs in the Bears’ team for the opening championship match, at home to Sussex on April 13, players are bursting to impress the coaches in pre-season.
“We have had some really good sessions in the marquee, which is a really good environment, but I think we all can’t wait to get out there in the middle in the first practice matches,” Rhodes said. “It is so important to start the season well and pick up points to give ourselves a real foundation. That’s what we’ll be trying to do because Warwickshire is a big club which should not be in Division Two of the championship for long.”