MARK ROBINSON believes Warwickshire’s squad is “stronger on paper” than last season ahead of their County Championship defence.
Warwickshire clinched the Division One title last season for the first time since 2012 and begin their defence against Surrey at Edgbaston later today.
The club have added Alex Davies from Lancashire and Nathan McAndrew for 10 matches as their second overseas player having lost Alex Thomson to Derbyshire and Ed Pollock to Worcestershire.
And the County Championship winning coach also provided a fitness update on several players with Liam Norwell set to miss the opening fixture with a back problem.
Robinson said: “There’s no international windows in our game, there’s no Christmas period where you can bring players in, you’re sometimes vulnerable to the whims of the game, we are stronger on paper at least.
“We feel on paper, we’ve strengthened the squad in all formats which is nice, you don’t play on paper though do you.
“Liam Norwell is struggling with a bad back, we’ll miss him, George Garrett has a heel injury, he’s out, the overseas players will be here for game two but everybody else is fit.
“Henry Brookes is back, it’s like having a new player, a new signing and [McAndrew] is a cricketer arriving at the right time, he bowls decent pace but has got robustness about him as well.
“Throughout the year, different players played different parts and that’s what you need to win something.”
County Championship captain Will Rhodes insists the club want to win the title again this season and is hungry for more success.
Rhodes said: “It’s been a long winter and a tough winter and there’s that burden and expectation of winning the Championship last year, it’s not really a burden, it’s fantastic to have that but there’s also the reality of trying to defend it.
“The mentality is that we want to go again, we want more success, the scenes on the pitch on the last day of the season sum up how the club feels – it was a long time coming.
“Tactically, I’ve become more aware of County Cricket, you ride the emotion of it, it can be very up and be very down at times and being a captain you can induced into that a little bit but that’s for me to take on my shoulders.
“I’m an experienced player now, we’ve got a group of players who have played 75 to 100 games, as a young group it helps when we can relay our experiences from previous years.”
Warwickshire’s clash with Surrey at Edgbaston begins at 11am today with the final day scheduled for Sunday, April 10.