The biggest and best news in relation to this match is that spectators will be back! Warwickshire members have been able to claim free tickets, and they have eagerly seized them.
When Warwickshire beat Notts at Trent Bridge back in April, and followed up with a further win against Essex – both achieved by last day run-chases – it looked possible that they might be the surprise team of the Championship season. A sound drubbing at the hands of Durham, however, and two drawn matches have brought them firmly down to earth. Warwickshire now sit in fourth place in the Group One table, their position not helped by the fact that they have accumulated a meagre seven batting bonus points. An average first innings score of 217 tells its own story.
Nottinghamshire, on the other hand, have bounced back from that defeat with three big wins. They beat Derbyshire by 310 runs and recorded innings victories over both Essex and Worcestershire. After six matches, they comfortably top the table.
In the Warwickshire batting line-up, only Tim Bresnan averages over 40. To date, captain Will Rhodes and the two overseas players used, Hanuma Vihari and Pieter Malan, all average under 20 with a single half century between them in 21 innings.
By contrast with his batting results, Will Rhodes has taken 13 wickets and tops the bowling averages. Five others have double figure wicket tallies.
The Nottinghamshire batting statistics are much more impressive, with six players averaging over 40. Haseeb Hameed’s career resurgence has gathered pace, with two centuries and two fifties giving him an average of over 50. He has deservedly gained a place in the England squad for next week’s Test against New Zealand.
With the ball, Luke Fletcher has been irresistible, his 31 wickets costing him less than twelve runs each. Stuart Broad and Dane Paterson have provided excellent support.
It should be a good contest, but unless the Warwickshire batsmen can re-discover their best form, Nottinghamshire could well gain revenge for that April defeat.
For Warwickshire, much rests on the shoulders of captain Will Rhodes. To lead the team, open the batting and bowl up to 20 overs per match is a heavy responsibility that would tax the resilience of any player. The big question, which this match may help to answer, is whether those responsibilities are having a lasting effect on his batting or whether he is just suffering a temporary lapse in form.
Nottinghamshire’s Luke Fletcher comes into this match on the back of career best figures of 7-37 (and ten in the match) against Worcestershire. He must be salivating at the thought of bowling to that somewhat flaky Warwickshire top order.
Warwickshire are without their England squad members Dom Sibley, Olly Stone and Chris Woakes. What Woakes has to do to get a game of cricket, goodness knows! He has bowled all of 11 overs this year, in three IPL games, so is desperately in need of game time.
Warwickshire squad: Will Rhodes (c); Tim Bresnan; Danny Briggs; Henry Brookes, Michael Burgess (wk); Oliver Hannon-Dalby; Sam Hain; Matt Lamb; Pieter Malan; Craig Miles; Dan Mousley; Liam Norwell; Rob Yates
For Nottinghamshire, Haseeb Hameed will play before joining up with the rest of the England squad on Sunday evening. Stuart Broad, on the other hand, will not play ahead of next week’s Test match. Promising England under-19 player Joey Evison is in the squad.
Nottinghamshire squad: Zak Chappell, Joe Clarke, Ben Duckett, Joey Evison, Luke Fletcher, Haseeb Hameed, Brett Hutton, Lyndon James, Tom Moores (wk), Steven Mullaney (c), Dane Paterson, Liam Patterson-White, Ben Slater
Weather and conditions
Glory be, we should actually have four dry days; and the temperature may touch 20 degrees (yes, Celsius, not Fahrenheit).
Groundsman Gary Barwell has produced some decent surfaces this year, creating a good balance between bat and ball. Although recent rain levels will not have helped his preparations, we can hopefully expect more of the same.
Date: 27-30 May 2021
Time: 11.00 am
Ground: Edgbaston Stadium
Odds (Skybet): Warwickshire 6/5 ; Nottinghamshire 8/13