Giles plans Warwickshire's rise
Ashley Giles could one day to be named England coach. If he does he will have earned his stripes the hard way. Sleepless nights and stress-filled days have been part of his fight to restore his beloved Warwickshire to being strong Championship contenders.
Giles enters his fourth year as the man in charge at Edgbaston with the previous three having had their moments of success. To win the CB40 last term was a real triumph but the scrap to avoid relegation must have left him bruised.
Mind you any long-term damage to his outlook on the game does not show. He must have spent the off-season putting something special in the Bears porridge, which stirred them from winter hibernation to produce one of the most relentless batterings by a group of bowlers ever seen on poor old Somerset at Taunton.
Giles says himself the Championship is the one which best judges the team over a whole season and he believes the profile is increasing.
"Division Two sides are desperate to get into the top flight and those in it want to stay. It means alot," he said.
In an ideal world Giles would prefer 14 matches not 16 but accepts with the number of clubs we have now it fits perfectly. He would never want to sacrifice his club and understands why nobody else would either.
Woakes took 6-85 in Somerset's first innings before taking another three wickets in the follow-on and adding 129 with the bat
Whatever reservations he has over the number of games played, Giles thinks the overall quality and competition of cricket has gone up. But playing 37 days out of the first 49 this season sounds a lot.
"Are you going to perform at your peak levels every day?" he considered. "Probably not. But every other side is in the same boat so it's how you best manage your team to deal with that."
The Ashes-winning former England spinner describes last year as one of transition for Warwickshire.
"We went from having Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell quite a lot the previous year, 2,000 runs worth, to hardly seeing them. That's a massive loss. We didn't replace those players so we lost all those runs.
"We have invested more in our playing staff this year. We've made good signings like Will Porterfield. I think he is an exceptional bloke and I think he will be a very good player. Varun Chopra is also starting to come of age."
One stand-out player is all-rounder Chris Woakes. This year might be a bit early for him to enter the Test arena but he is on his way.
"He will play for England in Test cricket at some point," said Giles. "Watching him in the nets at the start of the season he appears to have added a yard of pace to his bowling which would have been a criticism made of him.
"He has the ability to be a genuine all-rounder and if he can keep proving that it makes your passage into the England team even easier because that's what the side are crying out for."
Back to planning an improved season, Giles says he is hoping for better pitches.
"We did play on some poor wickets and once you get in a rut like that you become rabbits in headlights. I've never seen a batting side be in such poor form as we were last year."
An hour after he said that Somerset knew a little of what he was talking about. They were all out for 50.
Giles refers to Bell and Trott as being "Warwickshire through and through", and clearly he is the same himself. One day he will move on and I for one think it will be to an international post.
I must thank those of you who took part in the post blog discussion of last week. The comments took off in a direction I had not expected but, to be blunt, that is none of my business.
Just to clarify, I respect all the Indian Premier League stands for, at least all that I know it stands for. It is entertaining and makes money. However because it is played over the first two months of our season and the Champions League is held in September, it raises a question over the integrity of the English game and what it stands for.
Some of you clearly think it stands for not a lot . But whilst it is being played it should stand up for itself and make sure it does make a difference.
Just one story which is telling. A woman came up to me at the weekend knowing the job I did. She was full of tales of the IPL. She told me she only knew about it because she came across it on terrestrial television. She has neither a dish or cable and she is converted.
You can follow me at twitter.com/kevinhowellsbbc.