Ashley Giles plans to use Warwickshire’s Pro40 Division Two campaign as preparation for their forthcoming Twenty20 Cup quarter-final and a chance to exorcise the demons of the Friends Provident Trophy.
The Bears’ first fixture of the final ever 40-over competition gets underway this afternoon when Middlesex are the visitors to Edgbaston.
The Pro40 will be seen as nothing more than an inconvenience by some this summer, as it is set to make way for the proposed P20 Twenty20 next season competition meaning promotion is impossible and therefore the competitive nature questionable.
However Giles, Warwickshire’s director of cricket, has his own uses for the Pro40 this season.
Not only will Giles use the format as a practice run for his side’s trip to Sussex for the last eight encounter of the Twenty20 Cup at the end of the month, he also wants Warwickshire to right the wrongs that saw them narrowly miss out on a place in the quarter-finals of the Friends Provident Trophy. “It’s a competition that is there to be won and the guys want to give it a go, I also see the importance of winning becoming a habit,” said Giles.
“Although it’s 40 overs, there was areas of the Friends Provident Trophy that we needed to work on such as setting totals. We did well in that competition and only missed out on going through to the quarter-finals by one run.
“Also with the quarter-finals of the T20 coming up, we’re using the Pro40 as another opportunity to get practice in so we’re in good form when we take the trip down to Sussex.”
Giles will be without Ian Bell, who will be with the England squad as they prepare for the second Ashes Test, while captain Ian Westwood is a doubt as he has been suffering with a sore throat.
Young seamers Keith Barker and Steffan Piolet, who have both taken their chances in the T20 and FP Trophy well this season, will be handed another chance to impress during their first season with the county.
“We’ve got a few young guys playing who have already broken into the first-team through their performances in the Friends Provident Trophy and the T20, the likes of Barker and Piolet,” added Giles.
“They did well in the T20 and the Friends Provident and that was good to see. By the end of the season they should have a lot of one-day cricket under their belts and that will help them take a further step.
“I don’t want to drop either unless I have to, I’m very pleased with their progress but let’s not forget that they are at very early stages in their career.”