Warwickshire Season Preview 2024

Warwickshire Season Preview 2024

By Terry Wright – Mar 19 2024

To start on a positive note, Warwickshire already have a 2024 trophy in their hands – the grandly named Abu Dhabi Counties Super Cup. They won this pre-season T20 competition by beating team Abu Dhabi (by six wickets), Yorkshire Vikings (23 runs) and in the final, Notts Outlaws (nine wickets).

Looking back to 2023, it was a nearly season for the Bears.  They were on the fringes of the Championship race and eventually finished fourth.  They topped their group in both the Blast and the One Day Cup, only to fail in both quarter finals.

Will Rhodes, who led Warwickshire to the Championship title in 2021, stepped down at the end of last season.  He has been replaced as Club Captain by Alex Davies, who led the team in the Blast last year. Moeen Ali is still officially the Bears’ T20 Blast captain, although he hardly played in 2023 because of other commitments.  Whether he will continue in that capacity is not yet clear.

Several players, including wicket keeper Michael Burgess and pace bowler Olly Hannon-Dalby have signed contract extensions.  There is also good news on the injury front.  2022 last day hero Liam Norwell failed to bowl a ball in anger last year but was back in action in Abu Dhabi; and young all-rounder Jacob Bethell, troubled by a stress fracture of the back last year, is now able to bowl again.

One change this year is that, faced with tremendous pressures on the Edgbaston square, the Club have decided to play three of the One Day Cup fixtures at Rugby School.  The ghosts of Tom Brown and Harry Flashman will no doubt be celebrating. Fans however are divided on whether or not this will be an out-ground venue fit to rival those such as Cheltenham College and Sedburgh School used by other counties.

As for the proposed further development of the Edgbaston stadium, it has just been announced that the Club has agreed a loan from the West Midlands Combined Authority for £18 million. This puts them on course to re-develop the Raglan and Family Stands and build a 4-star hotel. The plan is for the project to be completed in time for the 2027 Men’s Ashes Test Match against Australia.

Ins and Outs

Warwickshire have signed left arm pace bowler George Garton from Sussex on a three year contract. Another quick bowler, Richard Gleeson, comes in for the T20 Blast.

Several players have left the Club, most notably the Brookes brothers, Henry to Middlesex and Ethan to Worcestershire.  George Garrett has gone to Kent and Manraj Johal has also been released.  Losing such a quartet of young pace bowlers highlights the fact that the Club has failed to bring through its development system any bowlers who have gone on to establish themselves in the team since Chris Woakes, who made his debut way back in 2006.

Key Player

The Edgbaston hierarchy clearly have great faith in new captain Alex Davies.  How well he adapts to leadership of the club will play a big part in determining the team’s fortunes.  It would be stretching the truth to say that he has endeared himself to fans, frustrated by the wide range of ways that he has given his wicket away when apparently well set, but if he starts to score more consistently and leads the team effectively, all that could change.

Player to watch

If he remains fully fit after his back problems, Jacob Bethell could confirm his reputation as an outstanding prospect.  Though born in Barbados and boasting Sir Garfield Sobers as a family friend, he has been in the Warwickshire system since age 12.

As a top order batter and left-arm spinner, he can provide valuable all round balance to the team in all formats.

Overseas signings

Pakistan pace bowler Hasan Ali, who became a popular figure during his short stay last year, returns as the overseas signing. 

No other signings have been made so far.

How will they fare

In the LV= County Championship, Warwickshire could be outside contenders for the title, subject to a few ifs.  Can the batting line-up develop more consistency?  Last year, only Sam Hain looked sound and reliable.  Rob Yates, Will Rhodes, Alex Davies and Dan Mousley all had their moments but they didn’t succeed often enough.  Also, can the impressive looking batch of pace bowlers stay fit?  Is Chris Rushworth capable of another successful season in his 38th year?  Can Liam Norwell’s body sustain him through a full season?  Might Chris Woakes make the odd appearance and add his quality to the team? A yes to all those questions would certainly put the Bears in contention at the top of the Championship table.

In the white ball competitions, the Bears will be seeking to make that tricky step from quarter final qualification to trophy success.  It is a decade since they won the T20 Blast on their home ground, but this may be the year when they manage it again.  In the One Day Cup, success is less likely but absences because of the Hundred may just give opportunities to young players such as Hamza Shaikh, Amir Khan, Tazeem Ali and Theo Wylie.

Opening fixture

LV= County Championship: Warwickshire v Worcestershire at Edgbaston, 5-8 April.

Season Odds (SkyBet):

County Championship – 13/2

T20 Blast – N/A

One-Day Cup – N/A


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