Giles expects Bears to roar again
Director of cricket Ashley Giles believes Warwickshire can mount another strong challenge for the LV= County Championship this season and not suffer any hangover from the last-day dramas in 2011.
The Bears were in the driving seat to lift the Division One title, only to lose out to Lancashire at the 11th hour after their dramatic win over Somerset at Taunton.
Warwickshire were left frustrated at drawing their final game with Hampshire at the Rose Bowl, but Giles is confident the squad will have shaken off any disappointment.
Giles said: “When last season finished, we were all disappointed and tired after a long six months.
“But straight away everyone turned their attention to this year and ’how could we improve?, how could we go one better?’ which was encouraging.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean we are going to do that but everyone straight away was thinking about making sure we did everything this winter to improve for this summer.
“That is always positive, when you get that sort of reaction from your team. I guess we all still have nightmares about that last day but there is no hangover.
“Lancashire thoroughly deserved to win the title. We enjoyed our season in the championship, we thought we played some really good cricket and now we start again.”
Giles believes Warwickshire have the quality bowling and batting-wise to again be a force, despite paceman Chris Woakes missing the start of the season with an ankle problem.
He said: “We probably surprised everyone with our performance, ourselves a little bit, last season.
“We knew we were a good side but the way we played our championship cricket was very encouraging. If we can do that again this year, we certainly won’t be far away.
“We’ve got a very good bowling attack. We are now going to miss Woaksey for the start of the season after being injured pre-season, but we are lucky to have quite a lot of cover in that department.
“Last year, if anything received a bit of flak it was our batting. But last year we were second in bonus points in Division One, we found ways to get scores on the board.
“If you find a way, it is not all about your averages as Lancashire showed. It is about everyone dipping in at the right time and making the right contributions.
“We’ve got some good cricketers but if you are going to challenge for the championship everyone has to play a part at some time and you are going to get injuries and someone is going to be out of form.
“That is when other people need to pick up the slack and produce the goods.”
Giles believes it will be an open race for the title in 2012.
He said: “There are a number of counties in there. You can’t discount Somerset on the way they’ve played in all cricket in recent years.
“Lancashire will be difficult to beat, Durham are always difficult to beat and Surrey coming up from Division Two will be dangerous because they’ll be unknown.
“I think it will be a very competitive division this year.”
Despite their impressive championship form in 2011, Warwickshire struggled to perform in the limited-overs competitions, which is something Giles has targeted an improvement in this time around.
He said: “In previous years, we’ve done well in one-day cricket and last year was disappointing. We are looking to improve that.
“One-day cricket is about momentum. We lost that in the Friends Life t20 last year after starting with two very good wins. We were Clydesdale Bank 40 champions going into last season but our side was very different in 2011.
“We had Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott for a large part of the season before plus Imran Tahir and Neil Carter and all of those guys were missing for big periods last season.
“It takes you time to adapt to that sort of loss.”