Seven wickets left and every reason to fight until the bitter end!

At the end of today’s play against Durham the Bears are facing defeat squarely in the face.  Barring a miracle or a tropical storm Durham will beat Warwickshire by an innings and plenty at some point tomorrow – most likely between lunch and tea.  (A mere snack for the Durham bowlers in-between meals.)

I wrote a lengthy post in this blog a while back (after the disasterous collapse in the second innings against Lancs) about how, amid wickets tumbling and near certain defeat, players need to focus on their own personal goals and acheivements even though the team effort is doomed to failure. 

So, given that all realistic hope of avoiding defeat is lost, what reason is there for the Warwickshire batsmen to even ‘turn up’ in the sporting sense, tomorrow.

Well, we have seven wickets left, so here are seven reasons why the batsmen should fight to the bitter end of this game no matter what the result of the match may be!

1.  Durham are our first opponents in the T20 Cup at Chester-le-Street on 2nd June.  So best not to roll over too easily it might lower morale for the start of our T20 campaign!

2.  Jim Troughton.  He has been getting a lot of stick from fans last season and this one too.  Now would be a good chance for him to prove that he should be in the team for his batting skills alone as well as his captaincy and fine fielding.

3.  Twitter.  A lot of the Warwickshire team like to spend their nights off having a bit of banter with their followers on Twitter.  If they have been seen to try their best for Warwickshire then they will be assured of a warmer reception online - and with the Champions League final taking place on Saturday night the Tweeting banter will be at fever pitch over the weekend!

4.  Chris Metters.  Metters is probably the best spin bowler that Warwickshire have availiable at the momment – but once Ant Botha is fit and Paul Best is fully availiable and free of university commitments – Metters’ skill with the bat may come in for almost as much scrutiny as his skill with the ball.  So every run here could count towards the assessment of  his all-round usefulness to the team!

5.  The Pitch Controversy.  If ever a team had a reason to want to prove a point to anybody who is watching it is the Bears!  C’mon guys show the ECB that they have not broken your spirit yet!

6.  Also, the Bears should want to show that they are a good team without their England – and now Ireland – superstars!  Do it for the county pros!

7.  Religious reasons.  Many of us do not converse with the almighty as often as perhaps we should.  So when we do it is perhaps not good for the destination of our eternal souls if our prayers are primarily concerned with sending heay rain clouds in the direction of Edgbaston.

And if all that fails to motivate our remaining batsmen tomorrow – then do it for your mum!

She could be watching Sky Sports News!

Here’s to a glorious defeat . . . . . Yoouuu Beeaaarrrsssss!!!!

Mark

Steve Rhodes: Motivational Coach

It was with some glee, but frankly little surprise, that I read the scorecard of the LVCC game between Durham and Worcestershire at New Road yesterday.

Durham batted first and scored a massive 587/7 declared against the Pears!

The reasons I felt glee are obvious – local rival, moaning point stealers, etc - I could go on for some time.

However, the reason I felt little surprise about

Mr Motivator your job is safe!

this is because Worcestershire’s own ‘wicket-keeping hero’ ‘county legend’ and now ‘director of cricket’ spent the best part of last week telling anyone who would listen how bad his bowlers are!

“What?” I hear you cry “Surely not!”

Well, he didn’t put it quite like that, but that is, in effect, what he has been saying.

All the time that he has been complaining about the inadequacies of the Edgbaston pitch has he forgotten that his own bowlers conceded nearly 400 runs on what should have – according to him – been a bowlers paradise!

It is like telling a striker that he couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net if his granny was in goal!

I expect to see a lot of county records fall when sides bat against Worecestershire CCC this year.  So well done Mr Rhodes!  Hope you have fun winning division 2 next year!

Mark

The Edgbaston pitch controversy: A fan’s perspective

Now that I have had a few days to reflect on Warwickshire’s 8 point penalty for producing a ‘poor’ pitch for the County Championship match against Worcestershire I am ready to share my thoughts on the matter.

Firstly, the quality of the pitch. Clearly it was a bowlers wicket from day one with uneven bounce clearly evident. However to describe it, as one cricinfo journalist did, as ‘the worst professional wicket he has ever seen in England’ sounds a tad extreme!

The batsmen did take a few blows but the ordeal must have been nothing compared to that meated out to every touring test team in the Carribean throughout the 70′s and 80′s!

Those with a passion for cricketing history must also be shaking their heads about the fuss created by this pitch when players of yesteryear played on uncovered pitches and with no helmets!

If the Bears still had Allan Donald in their ranks the fuss might be understanderble – but sadly we do not!

I suppose the ECB are rightly annoyed that Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott have been put at risk of injury in this manner. Also, they have been deprived of good match practice!

The thing that irks the many fans the most is that a casual glance at the scorecard does not indicate that the pitch was a minefield from day one. Warks scored 382 batting first and innings totals declined from there – which is a fairly normal pattern of events. Little time was lost to rain and the game made it to the final day.

So it does not seem fit to call the game a farce as some have. The only farcial part of the game came at the end when Worcestershire decided not to let Solanki and Richardson come out to bat at all. Were they that badly hurt? Im sure they would have come out to bat if the result was not already a foregone conclusion. Pathetic!

Now the second thing to be dealt with is how the pitch came to be inspected at all.

The norm is for the pitch to be reported by the umpires. One of the umpires for the match was test umpire Alan Gould so if he saw no reason to complain than that should have been the end of the matter surely!
To be reported by a journalist just annoys us fans even more and leads to suspiscion that it was a Pears friendly journalist doing the deed!

It is this lack of normal procedure that will surely offer the Bears their best hope of a successful appeal.

Another ssue that needs to be dealt with is how Warwickshire have dealt with the pitch issues evident since the match against Lancashire.

Iffy pitches take time to sort out. You are dealing with nature after all – not fixing a machine! There are lots of reasons why we are having these problems with the pitch. Harsh winter, dry spring, a new drainage system and a new stand being built.

I would have thought that if WCCC had worries about the state of the pitch due to the work that had taken place over the winter that they would have had a quiet word with the powers that be at the ECB to try to pre-empt any criticism of the pitch! After all a new drainage system was installed at the insistance of the ECB. And it is this drainage system that is largely being blamed for drying out the square.

Now for all I know this may well have all been done by the club before the Worcestershire match. Sadly if it was it was to no avail!

My final thought on this pitch controversary concerns the nature of the punishment.

The failure to produce a decent pitch, whatever the mitigating circumstsnces might be, is the fault of the groundsman Steve Rouse and the hierarchy of the club. A points deduction penalty mainly punishes the players and supporters.

Most of the people who run the ground on a day to day basis probably spend a large part of their time worrying about the financial side of things. So if the ECB want a club to get their act together regarding the pitch then they should fine the club not deduct points!

No one, not even the Pears, has suggested that the pitch had been prepared by Warwickshire to gain a sporting advantage. So therefore a sporting penalty is not really appropiate. It labels the club as cheats, when in fact they are only guilty of slight incompetence on this occaision. The Bears are not cheats and we are just as annoyed about the pitch as our opponents and the ECB are.

Therefore a financial penalty would be much more appropiate than a sporting one!

At least the best team still won!

Oh well thats off my chest now and I feel alot better.  Comments are very welcome as always.

Good Luck with the appeal Bears!

Mark

All Photos by Peter Lowe – Many Thanks!