Bears facing CB40 bank holiday double at Edgbaston!

CB40

Can we retain the CB40 title?

After a busy couple of weeks in the LV County Championship the Bears take on Leicestershire tomorrow and Scotland on Monday in a bank holiday weekend double header!

Having lost our first CB40 tie in a thrilling game at The Rose Bowl it is important we do well in these next 2 games.

At least we are at Edgbaston!!!

I can see 2 wins in these matches . . . What does everyone else think???

Warwickshire CCC V Durham CCC Day 4 . . .

Final days of first class matches are tricky affairs – for players and spectators alike.

Most hope for an exciting day with a dramatic climax.  But one must also prepare for a dreary last session where the only issue to be decided is: What is the earliest time we can leave without it being deemed impolite?

Today, at Chester le Street, we can expect an exciting day – for the first couple of sessions at least!

Warwickshire resume on 52/4 – only a handful of runs ahead of Durham  - and with memories of last season’s repeated batting collapses still fresh in the minds of many.

Let us hope that the last session is truly dull with a draw a certainty.

Warwickshire CCC

Chris Woakes - The hero again?

Let us Bears fans be frank and honest for a moment too.  If, at the start of April,  you had offered us the prospect of Played 3 Won 2 Drawn 1 after 3 games most Bears fans would have gladly accepted.

So if the likes of Clareke, Best, Troughton, Ambrose and of course Woakes see us safely to an afternoon snooze after tea today, be happy, and treat it like the good start to the season that it will be!

Good Luck Guys!

Mark

Prince William, Varun Chopra and me.

I have never been the sort of person who checks their horoscope on a daily basis.  The idea that one twelfth of the world’s population will have the same fate on any given day / month is clearly ridiculous.  And just in case you were in any doubt about this . . .

HRH Prince William is getting married today at Westminster Abbey.

Varun Chopra will be spending the day on the balcony or in the dressing room at Chester le Street watching the rest of the Warwickshire batsmen attempt to bat out as much of the day as possible to avoid defeat.

And as for me, I will be doing a 12 hour shift at work.

We all share the same birthday – 21st of June – therefore we also share the same horoscope.  Try writing a small paragraph of generalisations that will encapsulate the sort of day Wills, Chops and I will be having today – it ain’t gonna be easy!!!

Indeed, the only thing that Prince William, Varun Chopra and I have in common today is that we will all need the best of British luck!

Good Luck lads!

The only thing you need to know about Paul Best

Now that we know that Ant Botha is going to need an operation on his knee, and will be out of action on the pitch for 4 – 6 weeks, a lot of people will be scrutinising every action, on and off the pitch, of his inexperienced replacement Paul Best.

Well I wont be. I have already seen enough.

Yesterday morning, with the Bears match against Durham entering its second day, and the Bears first innings total poised between being slightly below or slightly above par, Best took guard ready to receive the first ball.

It was a long hop which he pulled straight to square leg and was out!

So, has this led me to conclude that Paul Merwood Best has not got the bottle or spirit to deal with the pressure of being in such a tight situation on his Championship debut? Or that he has not got the right attitude to change his style of play to match the requirements of the situation of the game?

Certainly not!

All I need to know about Besty – apart from an explanation from his parents about the daft middle name – was revealed to me as I watched the final U19 ODI between England and Sri Lanka at Canterbury last summer.

England needed to win the match to square the series and they had not batted well and had set Sri Lanka a below par target.

England bowled well and Sri Lanka got off to a slow start. However, the weather was taking a turn for the worse and it was clear that rain would stop play at some point. Perhaps permantley. As the rain began to fall, during the last over that needed to be bowled for a result to be declared, Sri Lanka were behind the D/L par score.

So the equation was simple. Complete the over and go off for rain then England win. Go off for rain before the over is completed then the match is declared a no result and Sri Lanka win the series.

During that crucial over a Sri Lankan batsmen played a false stroke and offered an easy catch to Paul Best.  He dropped the catch.  Or more precisely he had the ball in his hands but allowed it to fall to the ground.  As a peice of acting it made the average Home And Away actor look like Sir John Gieguld – but for a young cricketer it demonstrated an intricate grasp of the game situation, and how to use the rules of the game to your advantage.  If the catch had been taken and the batsmen dismissed then by the time a new batsmen had come to the wicket and took his guard the players could have easily been heading back into the pavillion beacause of the rain.  This ‘dropped catch’ prevented the game being a no result and allowed Englan U19 to square the series!

Paul Best Warwickshire CCC

Paul Best in action for England U19

That Best demonstrated such cunning and nerve (after all the game was live on Sky Sports and his actions would easily be seen by some as against the spirit of the game) shows that he has the drive and ambition to want to win at all costs.  A necessary requirement in any professional  sportsmen.

So although he may have some nerves and maybe an extra visit or two to the loo during the rest of his debut game at Durham, I have no doubt he will become a very sucessful player for Warwickshire in the years ahead – whatever his batting and bowling stats in this match may be!

Best Wishes Besty!

Tahir’s Law

Imran Tahir with Ian Bell after winning the CB40 at Lord's

Some people call it sod’s law, others call it Murphy’s law, but for Warwickshire supporters, for the time being at least, it will be known as Tahir’s Law.

I am, of course, talking about the idea that whatever can go wrong will.

When Imran Tahir returned to Hampshire at the end of last season it was clear that the Bears would be somewhat lacking in the spin department.  Ant Botha was now the first choice spinner in the squad.  Indeed, he was the only specialist spinner with first team experience.

No problem, we all thought, Ant will do the job for us!  Fingers crossed though that he stays fit all season . . . .

And that, my fellow Bears, is where Tahir’s law comes into play.  Injuries always have the unhappy habit of happening in the areas of the team which have the least cover availiable.

Warwickshire signed 2 fine batsmen in the winter in Porterfield and Yousuf.  They have the likes of Chopra and Troughton returning to form.  They also have Bell and Trott availiable for 3 championship games next month.  An injury to a batsmen would have been no problem whatsoever for the selectors to handle.  Indeed, it may even have made team selection over the next few weeks a little bit easier!

But no . . .

Ant Botha suffered an injury to his knee in the CB40 game at the Rose Bowl on Sunday and has a scan today to ascertain how severe the injury is! (Good luck to Ant by the way.) That left Warwickshire facing a 4 day game against Durham with no experienced spinner in the team and were forced to hand a first team debut to Paul Best. (Good luck to Besty as well!)

Now I have no doubts that Paul Best will one day be a fine cricketer for Warwickshire and probably England as well.  But with Warwickshire joint top of the table and mounting a serious Championship challenge for the first time in a while I would have hoped that the gods might have smiled on us a little bit more and kept injuries away from our spin bowling department.

But fear not!  While some will spend their time shaking their heads and asking why the Warwickshire management did not bring in an extra spinner during the winter to cover such an eventually, I will be waiting for another unwritten rule of the human condition to come into play.

And that is . . . . . Every cloud has a silver lining.

So if this rule comes into play as surely as Tahir’s Law has then expect Paul Best to score a dashing 50 this morning and take 5 wickets by the end of the day!

Good Luck Bears and the best of luck to Paul Best!

Mark