Giles: “Given the quality & depth of our batting, we shouldn’t have a problem putting runs on the board”

Warwickshire are very happy with their batting options as they approach the 2017 season, says sport director Ashley Giles.

Some Bears fans have been surprised that the club has not signed an opening batsman following the departure of Varun Chopra back to Essex.

"Given the quality and depth of our batting resources, particularly in the longer form, we shouldn't have a problem putting runs on the board. However, let me say again, if the right player with the right skills and character is available, we would always be interested in talking to them."

Ashley Giles

But Giles revealed that, having assessed which potential signings might be available, he and head coach Jim Troughton believe there are sufficiently strong options within the squad already.

"We will always be interested in bringing the right people with the right skills to Edgbaston, whether they are batsmen or bowlers," Giles said. "But bringing in anyone is a huge investment and it is important that we get it right.

"We have got a strong squad with a good mix of youth and experience and whenever a player leaves or retires, it creates an opportunity for someone else to fill that spot. That might be a younger player such as Alex Mellor or Andy Umeed or, in time, Liam Banks. It might also be a spot for Ian Westwood or William Porterfield, two of our more experienced cricketers to fill."

There is plenty of competition for the Bears' two opening spots against Surrey at The Oval in the Specsavers County Championship opener on April 7. Westwood bounced back strongly from a poor start last season to score consistently with a century and three half-centuries, while the experienced Porterfield is keen to regain his championship place and add to his eight first-class centuries.

Umeed showed his quality with a debut century against Durham last season and Mellor impressed consistently throughout his first-team opportunities in 2016. Seventeen-year-old Banks was selected in England's Young Lions squad in the ECB's International Pathway this winter and has attended Young Lions camps at Loughborough and Dubai.

"Given the quality and depth of our batting resources, particularly in the longer form, we shouldn't have a problem putting runs on the board," said Giles. "However, let me say again, if the right player with the right skills and character is available, we would always be interested in talking to them."

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Brian Halford

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