Ian Westwood is delighted that Warwickshire will feature in Second XI T20 Finals Day this week - not least because it shows the development made by younger players in the group.
The Bears will take part in Finals Day at Arundel on Thursday after comprehensively qualifying from their group.
Under 2nd XI coach Westwood they won their first seven matches, so sealed their qualification in style with games to spare. And while it helped to have the likes of Chris Woakes and Carlos Brathwaite available at times, the core of the successful campaign was the contributions made by young players.
“We have had some young lads in the side, like Jacob Bethell, Ethan Brookes and Manraj Johal, putting it some good performances and it’s been great to see their development,” said Westwood. “That’s what the second team is about, developing players and getting as many available for the first team as possible.Ian Westwood
“We had a strong squad to pick from for the first few games but everyone who has come into the team has played well and enjoyed it and done a good job.
“We said at the start of the competition that it’s not very often in Second XI cricket that you field the same team game after game in and game out. But we felt that we were going to have a decent core of players who were playing consistently to try to put their names in the hat for the Blast – and that’s what happened.
“I’ve tried to share the captaincy around a little bit too to give people an opportunity to show some leadership skills and get everybody thinking that way, and all the lads have responded really well.”
The Bears will play Middlesex in the first semi-final at Arundel, with the winners meeting the winner of the other semi – Sussex v Yorkshire.
And while Second XI cricket is principally about player development, the Bears would love to bring a trophy back to Edgbaston.
“It clashes with a first-team game but we will still take a good squad down there,” said Westwood. “We are in it, so let’s try to win it, but it will be good experience for whoever goes down there and plays.”