Hello fellow Bears. Mr Brian Halford has managed to convince me to continue with my blogs throughout the summer.
Apologies to those of you who don’t enjoy my ramblings. However, I’ll do my best to keep them short, sweet and entertaining for those that do.
I hope you are all looking forward to the season starting. We certainly can’t wait to get going. Preparations are in full flow ahead of the first championship game against Surrey. Warm up games against Kent, Notts, Worcester and Somerset should stand us in good stead.
Title defences are never easy. But I think with the squad we have we will be able to give it a proper nudge and be right up there come the end of the season. As a player within the squad I may be biased, but I certainly feel like we have a lot of depth and most bases covered.
Although it is a young squad, there is a lot of experience within the group. That combined with some fantastic young players coming through and a couple of new additions to the squad makes for a really exciting championship campaign. I certainly feel like there’s a lots of players with huge summers ahead of them!
It has been a really good month of training. We’ve managed to get outside over the last couple of weeks and practice on grass. Credit to Gary Barwell and his team for getting us out in the second week of March. A remarkable effort considering the weather we had in February. Luckily, we have been blessed with the weather since and the T-shirt cricket tan is already starting to appear after this last week of sunshine! I’m not sure whether this is from training or from all the time I’m currently spending on the golf course. I’ve got the golf bug!
I have mentioned previously how much I am looking forward to getting stuck into my red ball cricket. It’s been nine months since I made my first class debut at New Road against Worcester. A proud moment. Naturally it is going to take me a bit of time to find my feet again. It can be difficult to transfer between red and white ball cricket as they are two very different formats.
Bowling wise, it’s about being as consistent as possible, bowling with good shape and spinning my leg break, something I have been working hard at. The technical changes I made pre Christmas seem to be helping thus far and I am definitely starting to see some improvement in those areas mentioned above.
It has felt a bit alien. My role in T20 cricket with the bat is very much about clearing the ropes. When you are trying to do this it is only natural for your weight to be back when loading up to hit sixes. So the challenge has been to transfer that weight onto the front foot more to help me get into better positions against the red ball. The red ball also swings and seams a hell of a lot more than a white ball, which reinforces how important getting into good positions is. I am more than likely going to be starting in the 2nd team. This will be a brilliant opportunity for me to get overs under my belt, time in the middle and play with some extremely talented young players. I am really looking forward to it.
Onto more pressing news, we had my favourite day of the year the other day. New kit day. All sportsmen love stash. I finished training the other day to find a big bag of kit in my spot. Which luckily all fit me nicely (managed to keep the winter weight off). I got a glimpse of our new T20 shirts too. They look great.
I am sure you were all delighted with the news that Paul Stirling will be joining us as our 2nd overseas player for the T20 blast alongside Carlos Braithwaite. I have been following ‘Stirlo’ closely over the winter having played with him in The Hundred for Southern Brave. It’s safe to say he’s had a stellar 12 months.
He was phenomenal for us in that tournament and has gone on to dominate the T10, PSL and also internationally for Ireland. He is one of the cleanest strikers of a cricket ball in world cricket, he has the ability to win games of cricket in that first six overs and I think he will be a fantastic addition to an already very strong squad. Not only is he a brilliant player, he’s a top guy too. Which is really important when you are assembling a squad. He will fit in straight away and I can’t wait to see him launching sixes into the Hollies this summer.
I will try and touch base with you every month, until then, enjoy the start to the season and hopefully when we next speak Warwickshire have a couple of championship wins under their belt. You Bears!