Warwickshire captain Will Rhodes is looking very much forward rather than back after leading his side to two trophies in 2021.
A dazzling denouement to the season saw the Bears win the LV=Insurance County Championship and then add the Bob Willis Trophy to crown a brilliant red ball campaign.
The great Bears team of 1994 did the treble and followed that up with a double. Now Rhodes’ class of 2021 have carved their own niche in history, but the captain is far from satisfied.
The objective now is to build further and emulate that mid-’90s side by winning back-to-back championships. Rhodes has a simple and unequivocal answer when asked: “How do you follow that? We try to win it again.”
“Everyone has had a taste of that success now and experienced the jubilation on the last day at Edgbaston and at Lord’s and people want more of that,” he said. “Even the guys who only played one or two games were absolutely part of what we achieved this year and everybody who experienced that knows these are the times that you want to be involved in. We all want more.
“If you are not going to play international cricket then the pinnacle of your career is winning championships, so we all want to carry on and make it two, three, four within a few years. There are some very good teams out there who we know will come at us very hard next year, so we have to keep improving to keep up with the teams that are chasing us.Will Rhodes
“That is a challenge we are all very much up for. The guys will have a well-deserved rest now and then get stuck into winter training which I think will be shaped a little bit differently as we think about how to defend our title.”
Rhodes stresses the input of senior players Danny Briggs and Tim Bresnan as crucial to the success but is also excited by the young talent which augurs so well for the squad’s prospects in the coming years.
“Bres and Briggsy came in and the guys fed off their winning mentality immediately,” the captain said. “Now Al Davies has joined us from Lancashire and he is used to winning and has experience of performing on the big stage. He’s had a close up look at how we operate and is very excited to be joining us.
“Then we have the guys coming through our system. Rob Yates had a fantastic season. Dan Mousley didn’t play a great deal this year due to injuries, so we are all very excited to see him play a lot more red ball cricket. Jacob Bethell is on the England Under 19 radar and did well in the game he played for us at Leeds, Manraj Johal came in at Lord’s and bowled really well. That’s testament to Ian Westwood and the guys in the second team making sure players are ready for first-team cricket.
“So we have guys coming from all directions to make our squad better. It will be a real challenge to get everybody in the team next year and there will be some difficult selection decisions but it’s up to the guys who have played this year to upskill and keep their places and that competition will make our squad even better.”
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