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Bears are keeping feet on ground - Giles.


WARWICKSHIRE are quite happy to let others pay them compliments on their flying start to the season.

But Ashley Giles has revealed that there is no back-slapping going on within the Bears' dressing-room.

They have made a strong start to the campaign, a very strong start. But that's all it is - a start.

After tomorrow's CB40 game at Derby, Giles' team will travel straight up to the north-east for a championship match against Durham starting on Tuesday.

They will do so with four wins from six championship games under their belt, including a resounding one over long-time bogey-team Durham at Edgbaston.

They will then enter a month's Twenty20 cricket with a solid platform set for a tilt at the title when first-class cricket resumes.

There is no mistaking the air of selfbelief in the Bears' camp. But it is con-fidence without swagger as director of cricket Giles and captain Jim Troughton ensure all feet are kept firmly on the ground and all minds remain fully focused on what is happening now, rather than what might happen in the future.

"It's nice when you turn up at places and people say what a brilliant start you have made," Giles said. "And it has been a good start.

"But if you take your eye off the ball that can change very quickly. Momentum is a strange thing. Loads of time and hard work goes into building it up but then it can be quickly lost.

"We are in a happy place at the moment but it is my job and Graeme Welch's job and the job of the other management guys to make sure we keep doing things exactly as we have been doing them.

"The important thing is to stick to the basics and the disciplines that got us into this position.

"We are making a real effort to not look at too big a picture. We are getting a lot of buzz in the background from people who are saying we are championship contenders etc, etc.

"But we have to keep that remote from us and just keep going out to do what we do every day. We have to stay focused, keep warming up well, keep disciplined and be specific.

"Details matter. At Northampton in the CB40 last week we saw it was a worn wicket so guys had to prepare. They practiced their sweep shots and look to nurdle the ball square and it paid off.

Challenge "These guys are hard workers and hungry to learn which is a huge factor. They are a good bunch and it is a privilege to coach them."

One challenge facing Giles in the second half of the season will be to keep those players fit and fresh.

The bowlers, in particular, will be rotated at times to ensure that Troughton always has a few options available to him on the field.

"We have had some rest periods in the opening weeks but also some heavy weeks and I think we are going to have to rest some of the guys," Giles went on. "It is something myself and Jim have spoken about, rotating our bowlers.

"Some of these guys are going to have to miss some of the one-day games but every time you see the next game coming, it's an important one.

"You want to win every game but, at the same time, if you keep going that way, at some point you are going to lose guys injured.

"So we have to be selective and maybe look at the various opposition and the pitches and then decide who we can leave out at certain times.

"Rest is important. The bowlers, in particular, have had a huge workload this season - especially with Chris Woakes and Boyd Rankin missing, there has been a lot of pressure on Chris Wright, Keith Barker and Rikki Clarke.

"We have been very fortunate that Jeetan Patel has bowled superbly and taken a lot of the pressure off - but rest is crucial."


LONG WAY TO GO: Ashley Giles and his players are not getting carried away after their good start to the season.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jun 3, 2012
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