Preview: Essex v Warwickshire, Specsavers County Championship 2017

Warwickshire first-team coach Jim Troughton firmly believes his players are good enough to turn round their fortunes in the Specsavers County Championship, starting tomorrow when they face Division One leaders Essex at Chelmsford.

The Bears face the surprise pace-setters after a two-week break from competitive action since the defeat to Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

""After playing so well at Somerset, it was disappointing the way we played at Hampshire""

Jim Troughton

That defeat, which featured another first innings batting collapse, was a big disappointment after an improved display against Somerset at Taunton was only denied victory by rain. But Troughton has plenty of faith in his players to shrug off their poor start to the season.

"After playing so well at Somerset, it was disappointing the way we played at Hampshire," he said. "We lost the game in the first innings with that batting collapse and that has happened too often.

"But these guys are good enough to bounce back - we know that. It is not so much a confidence issue but sometimes you just get in a cycle that it is hard to break out of. We know the areas we need to improve and are working very hard on them.

"It's not always that simple though. Sometimes you just need that bit of luck to get you going or one player to put his hand up and do something spectacular. We certainly have players capable of doing that and who have done it many times before."

Warwickshire have included young seamer George Panayi in the squad as Grant Thornton, who has made such a good impression in his first two championship matches, is ruled out for at least a week by an ankle injury. Chris Wright remains sidelined by a back niggle but is expected to be fit for the NatWestT20Blast campaign.

Jeetan Patel returns after ICC Champions Trophy duty but, while Olly Stone's first-team debut is drawing near, he is not quite ready yet despite his impressive displays in the T20 games against Shropshire at Bridgnorth last Friday.

"Olly bowled fast and well at Bridgnorth so it was great to see how far he has come," Troughton said. "He could have a big part to play for us this season but we have to be patient because it is a serious injury he has come back from and if we get it wrong it could be career-threatening.
"We had a really good day at Bridgnorth. The home club looked after us very well and we played a couple of T20s and won both comfortably with a lot of the players looking in good nick.

""We need to improve, particularly in the batting""

Jim Troughton

"Since the Hampshire game we have spent the time well, practicing with both red ball and white because the T20 is not far away now and we want to be ready to hit the ground running in that format. But we have three championship matches before then and know how important they are - and that we need to improve, particularly in the batting."

A similar effort to when the Bears last played in the championship at Chelmsford (in 2008) would do. They won by six wickets after piling up 514 for nine in the first innings with Tony Frost scoring an unbeaten 242 in two minutes short of ten hours. Frost added another 38 in the second innings to finish with 280 runs in the match having batted for 11 hours and 12 minutes without being dismissed.

Bears squad

I.Bell (captain), I.Westwood, A.Umeed, W.Porterfield, J.Trott, S.Hain, T.Ambrose, R.Clarke, K.Barker, J.Patel, B.Rankin, O.Hannon-Dalby, S.Singh, G.Panayi.

Brian Halford

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