WARWICKSHIRE supremo Paul Farbrace has identified next Tuesday’s T20 clash between the Bears and a Birmingham Premier League XI at Kenilworth Wardens (5.30pm start) as a huge opportunity for everyone involved, writes Paul Smith.
Farbrace expects to take a strong side to Glasshouse Park including a number of players challenging hard for a starting spot in his team’s T20 Blast campaign which got underway last week.
“We will be fielding a number of first team and academy players while all the professional staff will be there mixing in on the day,” he confirmed.
“Our coaches all watch league cricket when they get chance and this is an opportunity for us to see more of the best players in the local clubs. Hopefully we see more of players who we have previously come across and maybe build some links with some that we haven’t.”
The Bears also believe this match and their subsequent visit to Coventry & North Warwickshire will help develop ever-stronger links with the club cricket scene in the county. To this end the whole squad will be present to provide photo opportunities and a number will also participate in coaching sessions with Wardens’ junior teams immediately prior to the main event.
“These games present a fantastic opportunity for us to connect with the league and the wider cricketing community in Warwickshire,” he said. “We really care about club cricket and this is our chance to show that we’re not just talking a good game but are out there supporting the club game as much as we can.
“Our players are encouraged to play in the leagues and we see them as great building grounds for talent. We want to work as closely as possible with the clubs and these games are a good way of doing that.
“Che Simmons is a great example of this. He played for Blossomfield last season after coming to the UK from Barbados and they looked after him brilliantly. He has now gone on to sign a professional contract and they have played a massive part in that. Blossomfield will be a club that he looks back on with huge regard for the help they provided him with.”
“Dan Mousley came through from Nether Whitacre to Wardens then Berkswell – he’s typical of a lot of our local lads who all have a story to tell about their journey through club cricket. It’s not just us at Edgbaston who have helped them, there are plenty of people in Warwickshire and Birmingham League clubs that have played a big part and, in some cases, continue to do so by giving good advice.”
The Birmingham League XI is bursting with the Midlands’ leading club cricket talent. Home eyes will be focused on Harry Johnson, who already has two hundreds this season, plus another Glasshouse Park batting favourite Ali Zaryab who has made a big impression during his two seasons as Wardens’ professional. In addition, the Birmingham League’s leading seam bowler over the last two seasons, Tommy Rex, will play against opponents for whom he has played 2nd XI cricket in recent times.
Entry to Glasshouse Park costs £5 payable by card only with Warwickshire members free, plentiful car parking is available and food and drink outlets will be open.
Birmingham League Squad: Neil Pinner (Kidderminster), Ateeq Javid (Berkswell), Jayden Levitt (Bromsgrove), Ali Zaryab (Kenilworth Wardens), Harry Johnson (Kenilworth Wardens), Ollie Currill (Leamington), Phil Harris (Barnards Green), Amrinder Brar (Barnt Green), Gurinder Singh (Smethwick), Jordan Bulpitt (Walsall), Yasir Ali (Smethwick), Tommy Rex (Kenilworth Wardens).