Barker: ‘I’d love to play a part in all formats’

Keith Barker intends to carry on where he left off for Warwickshire next year after his excellent 2016 championship season.

Left-arm all-rounder Barker was one of three ever-presents (along with Jonathan Trott and Jeetan Patel) for the Bears in the Specsavers County Championship.

And in a campaign during which some players struggled for consistency, Barker was a model of it. The 30-year-old scored 608 runs at an average of 32.00 and took 59 wickets at 23.14 apiece.

"It was probably my best year with bat and ball."

Keith Barker

He had a central role in each of the team's three championship victories contributing a century and six wickets in the 53-run win over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, 65 runs and three wickets in the ten-wicket eclipse of Surrey at Guildford and important knocks of 22 and 23 in a low-scoring game, plus four wickets, in the 237-run win over Lancashire at Edgbaston.

"It was probably my best year with bat and ball," he said. "I was pleased with my form so I just want to carry that on next season.

"The team was a bit up and down but we finished with a really good win over Lancashire so we’ll be trying to carry on where we left off.

"It was a strange season for us in the championship. After we beat Surrey at Guildford we were in a really good position in the table but then came quite a lot of white-ball cricket and, after that, we lost momentum in the championship. Instead of looking up the table we started looking over our shoulders.

"With a squad like ours you shouldn't be needing a result from the last game to stay up, but we showed against Lancashire what we can do. It wasn't that we fought any harder in that game, but we were spot on in all departments, like we were at Guildford. It just showed what we are capable of."

Barker has long-been an integral part of the Bears' team in the championship but has usually had to settle for a watching brief in white-ball cricket in recent seasons.

"You want the club and the team to do well and the lads did brilliantly to get to the final"

Keith Barker

In 2016 he played just three NatWestT20Blast games and did not feature at all in the triumphant Royal London Cup campaign.

"I've always been keen to play white-ball cricket and that hasn't changed," he said. "In the last few seasons I have been told they wanted to keep me fresh and fit for the championship which is fair enough, but I'd love to play a part in all formats. A couple of times in recent seasons I've had a late call-up for the odd T20 game but that was tricky because I hadn't had any white-ball practice.

"As a player you always want to be involved, but I was just really pleased for the lads for what they achieved in the 50-over cup. You want the club and the team to do well and the lads did brilliantly to get to the final and then win it with a really top performance against Surrey. I just went down there and had a great day like everyone else."

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Brian Halford

Brian is Warwickshire's Club Journalist and has reported on the Bears since 2000.