Preview: Durham v Warwickshire, Specsavers County Championship

Director of Cricket Dougie Brown is calling on his Warwickshire team to blow hot in the final quarter of the Specsavers County Championship season and finish in the prize-money places in Division One.

Successive defeats to Yorkshire and Surrey have effectively knocked the Bears out of the title race and, in a very tight First Division table, left them needing probably one more win from their last four games to be sure of staying up.

Ahead of tomorrow's visit to Durham, the Bears are 13 points below second place and 17 above the relegation zone. A strong finish could see them end as runners-up. A weak one could see them relegated.

It's all to play for, then, against Durham at the Riverside and then against Middlesex (home), Somerset (at Taunton) and Lancashire (home).

"The season is still ours to shape," said Brown. "If we play the four games badly then we will be in a scrap but if we play well we could quite easily finish first, second, third or fourth. There is a lot to play for.

"We know we are in a proper fight but we if we finish well, which we have traditionally done over the years, the season could still finish very favourably for us. We weren't looking anxiously at the table when we were in the top half of it and we are not looking anxiously at it now we are in a bit of a scrap. We just have to concentrate in what we do."

After a disappointing end to last season's championship campaign, the Bears need to reboot quickly to avert worries of a similar fade-out this time following inconsistent performances, particularly with the bat, away to Yorkshire and at home to Surrey.

"We had a long chat at the end of the Surrey game and a lot of people spoke up, which was great to see," Brown said. "We know there are things to address. As a batting side we haven't been consistent enough. The batters have spoken about that.

"So let's make sure we are consistent with our practice and our preparation and challenge ourselves hard in practice to make sure that when we come to games it is a bit easier.

"We just need to be better in key parts of games. We need to bat better and identify key moments, as a team, and be brave enough to take the next step and be more ruthless in games which we probably haven't been often enough this season."

Warwickshire Squad

  • Ian Bell (Captain)
  • Tim Ambrose (Wicket-Keeper)
  • Keith Barker
  • Varun Chopra
  • Rikki Clarke
  • Laurie Evans
  • Sam Hain
  • Oliver Hannon-Dalby
  • George Panayi
  • Jeetan Patel
  • Jonathan Trott
  • Ian Westwood
  • Chris Wright

Brian Halford

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