Warwickshire’s players returned to full-time training after their Christmas and New Year break today as their winter work turns a big corner towards the 2018 season.
The Bears’ squad members who are spending the whole winter in England have been joined at Edgbaston by Aaron Thomason and Sunny Singh, back from stints in South Africa and India respectively.
A lot of hard work has already gone in at Edgbaston during the first half of the winter by coaches and players fuelled by a determination to bounce straight back from the blow of championship relegation in 2017.
It [the marquee] will allow us to replicate conditions that a lot of championship cricket will be played in next season. With four championship games to start with and another batch coming late on, a lot of four-day cricket will be played with a bit of moisture around.Jim Troughton
In February, training will move into a marquee specially-constructed on the Number One nets area. And that will provide just the right environment for the players to prepare for the new season, reckons first-team coach Jim Troughton.
“The marquee should be ready for the first week of February and that will be great,” he said. “It will allow us to replicate conditions that a lot of championship cricket will be played in next season. With four championship games to start with and another batch coming late on, a lot of four-day cricket will be played with a bit of moisture around.
“It will be great for us to have quality pitches to practice on in the marquee so that the bowlers can get used to hitting the right lengths for those conditions and the batters can hone their skills.
“The guys have worked really hard this winter. I know that should be a given from any professional sportsmen but some of the fitness drills that they have done – well, I don’t think I could have handled them!
“Now we have Aaron and Sunny back with us. Sunny has had a little bit of a back injury but nothing serious – we’ve just brought him back so that we can keep a close eye on him. Aaron’s come back because bowling coach Graeme Welch hasn’t seen much of him so now Pop can start getting to work with him properly.”
Troughton’s first season as first-team coach last year was a troublesome one, coinciding as it did with the start of necessary major transition in the first-team squad. The rebuilding process will not be an overnight job, but it has begun and the coach intends for Warwickshire and Birmingham Bears to really show what they are made of in his second season.
“I’ve been in the role a year now and it was a difficult year but one which saw quite a lot of changes and I think the squad is in a good place now,” he said. “Our championship form was a cloud hanging over us for most of last season so we are looking to reinvent ourselves in that format and also challenge hard in the white-ball comps.
“The players will have fitness tests today and then the hard work resumes. It will be great to soon have the marquee up and running because after a couple of months in the gym and indoor centre, players do get a bit stir crazy.”