2018 Cricket Season Preview:  Warwickshire CCC

A look ahead to all things Warwickshire CCC ahead of the upcoming season. VAVEL interviews Bears fan Tom Eustace on the County Championship, Will Rhodes and Jeetan Patel.

2018 Cricket Season Preview:  Warwickshire CCC
2018 Cricket Season Preview:  Warwickshire CCC

In VAVEL's latest addition of 2018 season previews, Warwickshire CCC fan Tom Eustace talks all things Bears as he gives his thoughts on various matters at Edgbaston.

2017 Season

County Championship: Eighth - Division One

Royal London One-Day Cup: Ninth - North Group

Natwest T20 Blast: Runners-up

INS: Colin de Grandhomme (T20 only), Jeetan Patel, Will Rhodes

OUTS: Ateeq Javid, William Porterfield

Q&A

What are your hopes for the County Championship this year?

"This year, Warwickshire's main objective has to be gaining promotion out of the second division after a very disappointing season last year. It's important this year that our senior players step up to the task ahead when called upon.

With Ian Bell stepping down as captain during last season, hopefully he can kick off 2018 well and score a shed load of runs. When on form there is no better batsman to watch in my opinion and he will play a huge part if Warwickshire want to get promoted this season.

Jonathan Trott - whose experience at this level is priceless and who has played at the very top - is another main factor to our new season ahead.

Last season we certainly missed an extra quick bowler and didn't seem as threatening with the new ball from previous years, and after Rikki Clarke departed to Surrey we really struggled with the bowling department. We do however have a top-class spinner - and also our new captain - in Jeetan Patel, who has shown his worth over the last eight years or so.

I am very hopeful and optimistic this season that we will be up around the top of the table. We have got to get off to a quick start this season and build momentum early and carry it on all season if we want to get promotion back to where we belong."

Do you feel you can go one better than last year in the Vitality T20 Blast and win it?

"Every year in the T20 and 50-overs competitions I am optimistic we can go deep into the competitions. I would say we are a bit stronger in the T20 format and it's a great tournament for a lot of youngsters to break through into the first XI and really express themselves in front of the Sky cameras.

Our white-ball format has a really good balance of youth and experience which is what I believe is needed in the shorter formats of the game.

I would like to think we will be there on Finals Day again this year. There are a lot of good teams in the competition and teams are getting better each year.

Last year was a big disappointment getting to the final and coming so close to winning. Unfortunately, we ran into the Nottinghamshire Outlaws, who I think are the strongest white-ball team in the country. On the day their experience showed and the class throughout the team shone through. They deservedly won both cup competitions.  

This year we will look to relive the year of 2014 and win the competition, but it all comes down to the day and who can hold their nerve best."  

What do you make of the acquisition of Will Rhodes from Yorkshire?

"To be honest, I didn't see Will Rhodes as much as I would have liked last season. It's nice to have an all-rounder in the squad to give the team a bit more balance, as that was properly missing from last seasons campaign.

He seems an exciting cricketer and can play both formats which is important. Will has left one of the countries prolific teams in Yorkshire, who have an outstanding squad, so I am sure he would have learned a lot from his time there. Let's hope he can get off to a good start for us with both bat and ball."

Do you feel Jeetan Patel can still perform to his usual high standards despite his appointment as captain in the Championship?

"Patel has arguably been Warwickshire's most consistent players over the past five years. You know exactly what you're going to get when he comes on to bowl. He is a big asset to us and fully deserves the captaincy this season.

On a personal level, he will be the same as he is a strong character in himself and in the dressing room. I think he'd be looking forward to the challenge, but in a teams perspective, a captain is only as good as the team inherits.

Overall, I think he will be a success as captain, and with the experience of others around him, he will do just fine."

Who do you think is the next up-and-coming youngster to make it at Edgbaston?

"I think it's going to be a huge year for 20-year-old all-rounder Aaron Thomason.

Aaron is a great friend of mine and a top lad who has energy that you would not believe. He is not short of confidence at such a young age, which is a talent in itself, and he can handle the pressure of big stage.

I have grown up playing club cricket with Aaron over the last 10 years and to see him perform so well last year was a pleasure to watch.

Aaron broke into the T20 squad and had a huge impact on the team straight away. He had two or three-match winning moments with the ball and some very handy innings with the bat.

I am sure he will carry on his form this season, but I know he is even more keen to break into the red ball side and have a big impact."