Preview: Middlesex v Warwickshire, Specsavers County Championship 2017

Warwickshire will return to Specsavers County Championship action against Middlesex tomorrow with new blood in the squad and big names returning to it.

Chris Woakes and Chris Wright are back in the squad for the match at Lord's after injury, while championship regulars Jonathan Trott and Tim Ambrose also return.

Meanwhile, batsman Dominic Sibley, newly arrived from Surrey, is in the group, along with 27-year-old fast-bowler Ryan Sidebottom who has signed a contract until the end of the season after impressing for Berkswell in the Birmingham League and taking 15 wickets in two games for the Bears 2nds.

Lord's is a tough place to go in the championship with Middlesex unbeaten in 17 championship matches there. And, bottom of Division One and with the gap widened by a heartbreaking one-wicket defeat to Middlesex at Edgbaston in the last game before the NatWest T20 Blast, Warwickshire have a mountainous task to avoid relegation.

"We have some good options with new guys coming in and others coming back from injury, so we just have to put behind us what has happened, learn from it where we can and make sure we acquit ourselves well in the remaining games."

Jim Troughton

But they have scaled such a mountain before, in 2010 - and went on to lift the championship title two years later.
And, furnished with far more player-options than earlier in the season, the Bears have far from given up on retaining their First Division status.

"Absolutely not," said first-team coach Jim Troughton. "We know how much we have to do but it's all very much still to play for and it all starts at Lord's on Sunday with that first hour and how we turn up whether with bat or ball.

"We can't look too far ahead and think about what we might have to do in the remaining games. We just have to nail it when we get to Lord's. We will be ready and the guys are bursting to get out there and put things right in red-ball cricket.

"We have some good options with new guys coming in and others coming back from injury, so we just have to put behind us what has happened, learn from it where we can and make sure we acquit ourselves well in the remaining games.

"There have been encouraging signs. We got so close against Middlesex in the last game before the T20 and played some good cricket in the game before that against Lancashire."

The Bears will revert to red-ball cricket fuelled by confidence lifted by some fantastic performances in T20. Their challenge now is to transfer momentum across the formats while adjusting the skills required accordingly.

"Over the years we have become used to having to switch formats so it shouldn't cause problems," Troughton said.

"We have just got to go down to Lord's and refresh our red-ball skills and get a win. We've had some great results and performances in T20 and winning games of cricket is always great for confidence, regardless of format, and can put you in good form in all forms of the game."

Warwickshire Squad

  • Ian Bell (Captain)
  • Tim Ambrose (Wicket-Keeper)
  • Keith Barker
  • Sam Hain
  • Matthew Lamb
  • Jeetan Patel
  • Boyd Rankin
  • Dominic Sibley
  • Ryan Sidebottom
  • Sunny Singh
  • Jonathan Trott
  • Andy Umeed
  • Chris Woakes
  • Chris Wright

Brian Halford

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