Jim Troughton has saluted Warwickshire’s batting productivity in adverse conditions as a big factor behind the team’s flying start to the county championship season.
The Bears’ bowlers, notably opening pair Chris Wright and Keith Barker, have taken most of the plaudits early on as Troughton’s side have won three of their first four games to sit top of Division One.
But while six of the nine teams in the top division have not even made it to four batting points yet, Warwickshire already have ten.
And that is due largely to the fact that, already this season, five players – Varun Chopra, Darren Maddy, Rikki Clarke, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott – have scored centuries, most recently Bell who scored a superb 120 in the Bears’ bowler-dominated nine-wicket win over Durham at Edgbaston.
“If you look around the country at how many batting points teams have picked up you can see how difficult batting has been,” said skipper Troughton.
“But we have already had five centurions, which shows the way the batters have really put their hands up and contributed.
“Ian Bell batted beautifully against Durham to score a century in conditions in which nobody else got to 50 and in the other games other guys have batted with a lot of skill.
“And in all the games so far this season, there were also some very important smaller contributions.
"Against Durham, Jeetan Patel going in and scoring a quick 30 at the end of the innings made sure the momentum was with us when we went out to bowl again.”
Warwickshire’s bowlers know all about momentum at the moment.
They have performed with verve and incision as a unit, led by left-armer Barker, who has 22 championship wickets already this season following his match-haul of ten for 70 against Durham.
“Keith bowled brilliantly against Durham,” Troughton said.
“The way he swung the ball he was pretty much unplayable at times and I don’t think there is a left-hander in the country who would enjoy facing him.
"He has bowled superbly at the likes of Marcus Trescothick and Michael Di Venuto this season and looked a threat every time he has bowled.
“Chris Wright has bowled really well too and, as a captain, it’s just a pleasure to have these guys at your disposal.
"And it’s not just the seamers. Jeetan Patel has chipped in with some vital wickets on pitches that haven’t given him much help.”
That bowling attack should have Chris Woakes back for the next championship game, at home to Lancashire next week.
Woakes is close to fitness after the ankle ligament injury he sustained in pre-season and could return for the Pro40 home fixture against Derbyshire next Sunday.