Warwickshire have selection headache ahead of Hampshire clash

Warwickshire bowling coach Alan Richardson. Picture by Sam Bagnall.

WARWICKSHIRE are approaching the new season with “a lot of selection headaches” according to bowling coach Alan Richardson.

There are just five days to go before the Bears begin their Specsavers County Championship Division One campaign against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

With a fully-fit squad with all their international player available, some tricky decisions have to be made to pick the 11 for next Sunday. Most of all in a seam-bowling department which includes Rikki Clarke, Chris Woakes, Keith Barker, Chris Wright, Boyd Rankin, Olly Hannon-Dalby and Richard Jones.

There certainly won’t be room for all those alongside spinner Jeetan Patel who will arrive from New Zealand today. So those difficult decisions will have to be made.

“There are a lot of selection headaches which are great to have,” Richardson said.

“To have everyone fit and firing is a real plus and gives the guys a lot of competition.

“The boys have worked hard during the winter and quite a few have been away. Olly and Richard have been working at the ICC Academy in Dubai, Boyd has been back in the Ireland camp and Woakesy with England so we have some guys coming into the season on a bit of a run.

“Rikki bowled really well for the MCC in the champion county game in Dubai and we have Keith and Wrighty so that’s a very strong unit which is what you need to get you through the season. ”

With everybody available, in both batting and bowling departments, some senior players will have to be left out next Sunday. But there’s little doubt that, with the squad sure to be affected by injuries and international call-ups during the month ahead, all will get their chance at some point.

“We want to compete on all three fronts and to do that you need that strength in depth,” Richardson said. “We always want to be in contention in all three competitions come August so if you have got guys still fit and firing then you have a real chance.

“With the bowlers we don’t have an official rotation policy but we have guys potentially stronger in some format than others, so to keep them fresh and firing is great.

“When Glamorgan came to Edgbaston last year in the 50-over comp we had Chris Wright, Keith Barker, Richard Jones and Boyd Rankin all warmed up but not playing and one of their guys came over and said ‘this is a bit scary.’ It us great for us to be in that position.”