Keith Barker has asserted that Warwickshire fear no-one as they prepare to face Somerset in the Clydesdale Bank 40 final.
The Bears will be second favourites at Lord’s on Saturday when they face a powerful Sabres outfit led by Marcus Trescothick.
But, having beaten Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire in their last two 40-over games, Barker insists Warwickshire have proved they can handle games against the best.
“We don’t fear anybody at all,” said Barker. “We have beaten some very good sides along the way and although Somerset are very strong, we will go in full of confidence.
“We played really well against Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire and have played good 40-over cricket all season.
“It would be great to win the trophy, especially after we reached the quarter-finals of the Twenty20 but didn’t get to the finals day.”
Barker is thrilled by the prospect of playing in a Lord’s final, having become a key component of the one-day side in only his second season with the Bears.
After returning to cricket, having quit profesional football, the 23-year-old has taken adroitly to the demands of playing high-profile games in front of big crowds.
“It’s something you have to get used to quiickly,” Barker said. “I played a lot of one-day games last season and you just have to shut out everything and concentrate on what you are doing for the team.
“I have played at Lord’s in a couple of 40-over games against Middlesex but to go there in a final will be unbelievable. You can’t ask for more than that. It’s a brilliant feeling.”
Meanwhile, Ian Bell is unconcerned by Warwickshire having to venture into unchartered territory on Saturday when they take part in the first floodlit domestic final to be held at Lord’s.
It is a bizarre decision by the ECB to hold the match under lights, forcing obvious travelling difficulties upon Bears supporters returning home to the West Midlands and Somerset fans heading back to the west country late at night.
What the switch will mean for the contest itself, meanwhile, remains to be seen.
Floodlit games in England have often heavily favoured the side batting first as batting becomes more difficult later on, especially as the floodights are just kicking in. But Bell, who will captain the Bears on Saturday, insists he will be comfortable whether he wins the toss or not.
“I don’t think it will make too much difference being under floodlights,” he said. “I wouldn’t have a problem batting or bowling first. I have never played a day-nighter at Lord’s so I’ll speak to a few of the England guys who have done and see what they have to say.
“It’s all set up for a cracking game. Both sides bat deep and if the weather is good there could be a lot of runs and a really exciting game.
‘‘If it’s anything like the one we had at Scarborough I think the supporters will have a great day. You respect every opposition you play against and this Somerset side certainly demands that respect.
“They are a fantastic side and will probably be favourites. But we have lost only three games in two years in 40-over cricket so that’s not bad for the underdogs.”