Michael Burgess admits that as soon as he heard Warwickshire outline their ambition to bring more trophies to Edgbaston over the next decade he “wanted to be involved.”
The prospect of having Edgbaston as a home ground was another lure for the 24-year-old wicketkeeper/batsman – as was some encouraging words from long-time friend Dominic Sibley.
"Birmingham is a vibrant city and Edgbaston is just fantastic to have as a home ground."
Burgess and Sibley were in the Surrey youth system together. Their cricketing paths diverged when Burgess went to the University of Loughborough and then played for Leicestershire and Sussex.
But when, earlier this year, Warwickshire expressed an interest in signing him from Hove, he was quick to consult his old friend, now the Bears’ vice-captain.
That clinched the deal for Burgess, who is eligible to make his Warwickshire debut against Nottinghamshire in the Specsavers County Championship on Monday as part of a loan deal which precedes his move from Sussex on a two-year contract.
“I had played with Dom since I was 13 or 14 and he told me what a great club Warwickshire is and about the plans for the future,” Burgess said. “To be honest, as soon as I spoke to the people here and heard about their ambitious for the team I wanted to be involved.
“The squad has lost some experienced players recently and you certainly don’t replace the likes of Jonathan Trott, a legend in international cricket never mind county cricket, overnight but there are a lot of good young players in the squad.
“There is a clear ambition to challenge hard for trophies in the next ten years and I am very excited to be part of it.
“Everything about the move excites me. Birmingham is a vibrant city and Edgbaston is just fantastic to have as a home ground.”
Whether Burgess makes his debut against Nottinghamshire in the championship next week remains to be seen, but he will certainly be high in the Bears’ thoughts for the Vitality Blast campaign.
He shone for Sussex in the format last season and was part of the team which finished runners-up on Finals Day at Edgbaston.
“It was disappointing to lose in the final but still one of the best days of my life,” Burgess said.
“The atmosphere was just something else with the crowd getting so involved and to be part of that as a Bears player, with so many fans behind you, must be amazing.
“It is a format I really enjoy so would love to play a big role for the Bears, if selected.”