Bears fired up for trip to Barbados; Only a few players missing for pre-season tour.
WARWICKSHIRE'S players are "champing at the bit" to get to Barbados next week and step up their pre-season preparation, according to captain Jim Troughton. After a week off last week, the Bears' squad reconvened at Edgbaston yesterday as the run-in to the 2012 campaign begins in earnest. They have spent months working on their fitness and skills in the gym and the Indoor Centre at Edgbaston. Now they can't wait to get outside for some proper practice games and that is what awaits them after they fly out to the Caribbean next Tuesday. Their match itinerary is still being finalised but during a fortnight in Barbados they will play one, possibly two, two-day games against Nottinghamshire and face other English counties in 40-over and Twenty20 matches. The corresponding trip last year was a great success as Warwickshire won the Barbados Cup 40-over tournament while the players settled into Troughton's fledging captaincy. A year on, the skipper is looking for more of the same in advance of the new season which starts with a Championship game at home to Somerset beginning on April 12. "We have had a really good pre-season but now we are champing at the bit to take the next step and get outdoors," Troughton said.
"I think the guys are going a little bit stir crazy after all the work indoors so there couldn't be a better time for us to get going. "We are all really looking forward to getting out to Barbados. "When we get back to England it will be straight into the thick of it so it is very important that we work as hard as we can out there and get maximum benefit from the trip. We will be taking all the games seriously. It is very important we put in a good performance in the T20 tournament and defend our title in the 40-overs. It's just going to be great to get outside on outdoor wickets and put into practice all the work we have been doing." The Bears will take all their senior players on the trip, barring Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott, who will be on England duty, and Tom Allin who is sidelined by a side-strain. Darren Maddy is nursing a slight torn buttock muscle but he should be bowling again during the Barbados trip. Tim Ambrose's recovery from a serous hip operation last October is progressing well but the wicketkeeper won't be fit for the start of the season. His absence will give Richard Johnson a chance to stake a claim for the first-team slot behind the stumps.
WARWICKSHIRE'S players will today receive an anti-corruption briefing as part of an ECB initiative to ensure all cricketers are aware of temptations that could be put their way. In the light of events which led to the conviction and imprisonment of Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield for a spotfixing offence, the ECB appointed Chris Watts as their anti-corruption chief. County chief executives have been instructed to brief their players about potential dangers of corruption. So determined are the ECB to clamp down on potentially nefarious activity that everybody connected with the club will be spoken to - from members of the committee all the way up to the cleaners.