at the Rose Bowl
Liberated from the bowlers’ graveyard that has been Edgbaston of late, Warwickshire will today continue the search for their first championship win of the season against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl.
Six draws and a defeat so far have left the Bears in the bottom two of the First Division and with plenty of work to do to retain their top-flight status.
Victory over Hampshire, who sit just 12 points above Warwickshire having played a game more, would be a mighty fillip for Ashley Giles’ side before they then face bottom-of-the-table Worcestershire at New Road next week.
This is the point at which the Bears need to kick-start their championship campaign.
Having struggled to bowl sides out this season, they have leaned heavily on batting points to keep them in touch with the mid-table pack. But, with seven of the remaining nine games away from home, their beleaguered bowlers will have more helpful working conditions for the rest of the summer.
So, starting at The Rose Bowl over the next four days, can they deliver the quality required to turn draws into victories?
Director of cricket Giles is comfortable with the safety-first policy adopted by his team so far this season. But he is also well aware that they need to win at least a couple of matches at some point to avert the threat of relegation.
“We are in a decent position,” he said. “We have got a game in hand of nearly everyone and two in hand of some. Now we have to win one.
“The next two games will be interesting. The Hampshire and Worcestershire games will be on pitches that might have results in them so let’s see what we can do.
“We won’t put ourselves under pressure and say we must win this game or that game. It’s all about playing solid cricket and seeing where that takes us.”
Warwickshire’s bowlers will be kept waiting for any input from Indian recruit Shanthakumaran Sreesanth (inset). The additional requirement for the player to take an English test, alongside all the other familiar work-permit red-tape, is likely to delay the fast-bowler’s arrival until early next month
“I don’t think we will see Sreesanth for a couple of weeks yet,” said Giles. “But we should have him for the last seven championship matches and that will be great because there will be some massive games for us then.”
In the meantime, the Bears will look to the incumbents for a match-winning display at Southampton. Will someone step forward, perhaps, the way Henry ‘Knack’ Pallett did at Northlands Road in 1896 when, in 62 of unremitting flight and guile, he took out seven Hampshire batsmen for 74 in the first innings and followed up with seven for 67 in the second to seal a ten-wicket win?
Warwickshire, by the way, collected just the one point for the remarkable victory. Hampshire’s point-tally from the match was minus one.
Funny old system in those days.