TIM Ambrose today looked ahead to Warwickshire’s 2018 Specsavers County Championship season and asserted: “Of course the number one objective is to get back up – but it’s to get back up stronger than we were before,” writes Brian Halford.
Relegation last year means Warwickshire will play Division Two championship cricket for the first time since 2008.
They suffered a bruising 2017 red-ball campaign which was hard to take for a set of players many of whom, like Ambrose, have enjoyed a lot of success with the Bears.
The rebuilding is now well underway. And the experienced wicket-keeper, a Bear since 2006, insists that process is a much broader and longer-term one than simply regaining Division One status.
“After a red-ball season like last year we need to rebuild properly.” Ambrose said. “Of course the number one objective is to get back up but it’s to get back up stronger than we were before. To turn things round and fundamentally reshape the way we play can sometimes can take a bit longer.
“There’s no point in just filling the holes and just getting back up in the First Division and risking being back in the same situation as last year.
“This club deserves better than that. It deserves to be a consistent top-tier force and it will take work to get us back to that.
“It may happen this season or it may take a bit longer. The objective is always to win trophies but, to do that, you need long-term plans and strategies in place.”
Ambrose speaks from the heart. Few players ever represented Warwickshire with greater passion and intensity than the 35-year-old – and few hurt more when things go badly.
“Last year was, in a sporting context, traumatic,” he said. “That might sound a strange word to use but in my career I’ve never been in a situation where we’ve been beaten so comprehensively so regularly.
“We need to learn from those situations because none of us want to be back there. We’ve spent some time focusing on what we got wrong and that’s not being negative, it’s just about making sure we are learning from those mistakes.
“It’s about recognising where we came up short and recreating the environment and culture which has brought us so much success over the years.
“We know we have a strong squad but in some ways that can be a danger. Maybe sometimes last year we did look at the squad and think ‘we’ve got to do something wrong not to be right up there’ and forgot about some of the basics.
“It can lull you into a bit of a false sense of security and we have seen some sides not unlike ours go down in the last few years. Nottinghamshire, for example.
“There are some good sides in Division Two and any of our guys who are tempted to think it will be easier is going to learn a quick lesson,” he said.
“The standard will be good and we have got to be ready for that.”