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29th Jun, 2022

Home opener for Bears as exciting Blast beckons

Liam Moakes 18th Aug, 2020

BIRMINGHAM Bears will begin and end their Vitality Blast group campaign at Edgbaston – opening against Somerset on Friday, August 28 and concluding against Northants Steelbacks on Sunday, September 20.

With the group matches to be fitted into three weeks, the structure has reverted to three groups of six with the Bears reacquainting themselves with the Midlands/West/Wales group of the competition’s early years.

As well as Somerset and the Steelbacks, they will meet Worcestershire Rapids, Glamorgan and Gloucestershire home and away.

The Bears will welcome back club legend Jeetan Patel who will play the whole Blast campaign following his stint as spin bowling consultant with England for the last two Tests against Pakistan.

After such a frustrating summer of inactivity, the Bears players are champing at the bit to get into the shorter format, although first team coach Jim Troughton admits they will find it strange if there are still no spectators in the ground.

“The guys are really looking forward to the T20 but it will be weird without the crowd behind them and the music and fireworks and everything that makes up the atmosphere,” said Troughton.

“It will be strange without the pressures that come from the crowd and the circus that is T20, but I’m sure it won’t affect the quality of the cricket.

“As we have seen in the Bob Willis Trophy games, there haven’t been crowds but the intensity has been there.

“The T20 games will be condensed into quite a short period and will come thick and fast. We have five in a week at one stage and two on successive days, so we have to be ready and make sure we are 110 per cent on it every time.

“We don’t have a lot of time to prepare for the switch from red-ball but that’s not too different to normal.

“Hopefully, Olly Stone and Liam Norwell will be fit to play a part in the campaign and we will have everyone to choose from. It will be fantastic to have Jeets (Patel) back with us so he can hopefully end his fantastic Bears career on a high.

“We will structure our 2nd XI games before then so the players who are not playing red-ball cricket get as much practice as they can and be as ready as possible to face Somerset on August 28.”‚Äč

Words courtesy of Brian Halford.

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