Warwickshire’s players devoted yesterday to the most gentle match practice as their two-day game with Oxford UCCE meandered to a draw at the Parks.
Back in Birmingham, meanwhile, operations manager Keith Cook spent the day trying to knit fog.
Warwickshire have, like most counties, endured their share of anguish at the hands of the Home Office and its procedures. The cases of Vaughn Van Jaarsveld (well worth all the hassle) and, last year, Chris Martin spring to mind.
Well, since last year, the regulations have changed. They have become more complicated. And it is this forest of legislation through which Cook is trying to machete a route for Kiwi spin-bowler Jeetan Patel.
I’ll spare the details. All our lives are too short. Safe to say the process involves, amongst many other things, a new points system, ratification from two cricket boards, the issue of a “Player Endorsement Number”, then the issue of another different number. And, of course, pivotally, the noble civil servants at the Home Office.
Even if all the rest fell magically into place in the next 48 hours, the requirement of that latter element to move swiftly will probably torpedo Patel’s chance of making his Bears debut against Somerset at Taunton next week. Easter looms – and it’s hard to see Home Office personnel putting in too many hours between Thursday and Tuesday.
Cook will persevere but it is likely that, with Ant Botha sidelined by tennis elbow, the Bears will go in at Taunton without a specialist spinner.
At The Parks yesterday, Naqaash Tahir took the bowling honours with four for 20 from 11 overs as the match drifted to a draw. Jimmy Anyon and Neil Carter took two wickets apiece as Oxford totalled 253 in reply to Warwickshire’s 414 for six.
When the Bears went in again they made a desultory 114 for six. Aqib Javid struck a polished 33 while Richard Johnson added 25 and Darren Maddy and Jimmy Anyon 22 apiece.