Warwickshire have agreed new contracts with Ashley Giles and Ian Bell to the end of the 2008 season, writes George Dobell.
With the pair centrally contracted by the England and Wales Cricket Board, the contracts might appear a formality. Giles, 33, has played five first-class matches for Warwickshire in three years while Bell would appear to be a fixture in the Test and oneday international side for the foreseeable future.
Yet an old adage suggests that a player never recovers from a poor Ashes tour. History is littered with Englishmen whose international careers were all but ended in Australia. Though all Bears supporters hope that Giles and Bell thrive, they will be reassured that Warwickshire have secured the services of two potential match-winners should England deem them surplus to requirements.
Besides, Monty Panesar's emergence would suggest that Giles is likely to be available more often while 24-year-old Bell was beginning to attract avaricious glances from other counties.
Warwickshire are close to agreeing a draft fixture list for 2007. The Championship season is likely to begin at home to Lancashire - swapped from Old Trafford at Lancashire's request.