There are a couple of review out there at the moment previewing the second division of the county championship that are worth a look.
Cricinfo has the Bears as realistically looking at a mid-table finish, although could be higher if the bowlers fire.
The Telegraph has a comprehensive round up of the teams in the division, but does not go so far as to chance a prediction.
For a Warwickshire preview you could do a lot worse than George Dobell's squad review in the post, which is frankly so comprehensive it makes me wonder if it was some kind of pull-out...
My own attempt runs thus:
Wicket-keeping: Ambrose continues to go from strength to strength and should keep his place in the England squad for the early summer at least. Meaning he is unlikely to play for Warwickshire. Tony Frost has a lot of hard work ahead of him to maintain his fitness and was already batting with a runner in the 2 day match against Oxford UCCE. He remains a big concern over 4 days and I hope that one of the other batsmen is competent to take over the gloves at need. Richard Johnson is a fairly unknown quantity, but I think his lack of opportunities in the three pre-season matches indicates he is not exactly pushing Frost hard for a place at the moment. He is almost certain to get a first team chance at some point, although George Dobell doesn't rate his batting, with the lack of proper allrounders he could unbalance the side.
Batting: The batting line up looks fragile. Maddy, Westwood, Trott and Troughton pick themselves, but beyond them there is not much. Westwood continues to develop, Troughton to frustrate with inconsistency. Trott had a bad last season, but has the class to get back to his best. Maddy needs to continue to enjoy an Indian summer to his career (preferably not in India!). In order to be truly competitive this year either (or both) from Poonia and Parker need to step up and deliver. The arrival of Jayasuriya for the Twenty20 could prove a welcome boost.
Seam Bowling: Allan Donald is by far the best signing in the seam department and he won't bowl a ball in anger all summer. Zondeki, when available, looks a class act and should be among the wickets. Of the rest the front line are Tahir, Anyon, Carter, Groenewald, Rankin & Daggett. I am not sure whether it is a good sign of depth, or a symptom of a lack of proven bowlers that it is virtually impossible to pick the first choice 3 or 4 from them. There is a lot of promise and hopefully the competition will encourage some development, Carter apart, the other 5 could still develop into 50 wickets a season bowlers, or conversely wash up at Northants in 2009.
Spin bowling: Botha looks the automatic first choice and Salisbury seems a strange signing as a player; as a coach he might be a decent capture. Nick James really needs to improve or I doubt his contact will be renewed, like Loudon he possibly suffers for not knowing his role.
The Verdict: going into the season it is hard to pinpoint a part of the Bear's squad as a certain strength. That said they do have an awful lot of promising players in their early 20's, particularly bowlers and you have to think at least one or two should respond to Donald's coaching.
I predict a strong start in the Championship but unable to sustain a challenge for promotion. Finishing 3rd.
I think qualification from the group stages of the Twenty20 cup is on. Although I can't see the team being consistent enough in the One Day game to either get to the latter stages of the cup or to gain promotion in the league. I do think though that the cricket will be a sight more interesting and enjoyable than last season. I for one will be in the RV Ryder stand at about 5.10pm tomorrow with a pint and I might even take my sunglasses. Never let it be said I'm not an optimist.
Best of The Raggy Bear
Best of the Web
- Brian Halford on CC reorganisation proposals (Blog 31/03/10)
- Lee Daggett's mum steps in to solve stand-off (Post 20/08/08)
- Povey defends Ashes ticket policy at Edgbaston (Post 14/08/08)
- Warwickshire draw brings concern over form (Post 15/08/08)
- Give me 19th century North Tibetan yak hoofprint cave drawings any day! (Mail 04/06/08)
- Can bat, can bowl, can't write (Cricinfo 18/08/08)
- Former Warwickshire captain's historic stand for the professionals (Post 12/08/08)
- Michael Powell first to go as Warwickshire get tough (06/08/08 Mail)
- ECB unveils new Twenty20 tournament (Cricinfo 16/07/08)
- EU ruling could spell end to Kolpaks (Cricinfo 22/07/08)