Tomorrow morning sees the beginning of the next match in Warwickshire’s hectic schedule of cricket!
It is only early May and we are playing the first return match of the season. After beating Worcestershire comfortably – in the end – at New Road, it is now time to attempt to do the same at Edgbaston.
To the casual observer of West Midlands cricket this game should appear to be an easy fixture for the Bears. The Pears will have the defeat at New Road still very fresh in their minds – and have lost all four of their County Championship matches so far this year.
Woakes destroyed the Pears on the final day at New Road but is injured for this encounter! Photo by Peter Lowe
However, let us not forget that we conceded a 1st innings lead of 175 to the Pears at New Road. Only a fantastic double hundred by Chopra combined with fantastic bowling spells by Rankin at the end of the 1st innings, and Woakes at the end of the 2nd, brought us first back into the game and then in a position to win.
So the moral of the match at New Road is take nothing for granted – it should be a tough derby game.
Their will be two main talking points before the game begins.
One will of course be team selection – as it always is!
The other will be the pitch – after a truly dreadful pitch spoilt any chance of a decent test of skills between Warwickshire and Lancashire last week!
Let me deal with the pitch first.
The wicket used in the Championship game against Lancs was on the edge of the square. It is expected that the one to be used this week will be more central. The 2 Cb40 games played at Edgbaston so far this season have been fine for the batsmen. Indeed the Leicestershire game was a run fest! The last thing Warwickshire need is another pitch with uneven bounce and that turns square – we don’t even have an experienced frontline spinner!
Fingers crossed all will be well. After all, Warwickshire have the batsmen availiable to bat for 2 days should they win the toss and be given the choice.
This brings me on nicely to team selection.
Worcestershire have one main issue – who will replace Captain and opener Daryl Mitchell in the team. Moeen Ali, former Warwickshire player, will take on the Captain’s role, but it is unclear who will fill the extra batting spot and how the batting order will line up!
Warwickshire have many selcetion issues.
First-choice keeper Ambrose faces a late fitness test. It would be a boost for the Bears if he was fit to bolster the lower order batting.
Bears captain Jim Troughton also faces a late fitness test having already missed the Championship game against Lancashire and CB40 game at Northampton. This is not too hard an absence for the Bears to handle as they have Bell and Trott availiable and at the momment, so are not short of specialist batsmen – and Bell can also stand in as captain.
However, Warwickshire face much more serious selection issues when it comes to chosing the bowling attack for this match.
Warwickshire’s main spinner Ant Botha is out with a knee injury and the news this morning is that the Bears main new ball bowler Chris Woakes will be out for 2-3 weeks with shin splints!
These two injuries not only weaken the bowling but also reduce the batting strength of the lower order!
Therefore it would be reasonable to conclude that the Bears may find it a lot harder against the Pears this time around!
So, its over to you fellow Warwickshire fanatics! Which XI do you think will / should take to the field in the morning?
All sugestions welcome as always!
C’mon you Bears!