Jim Troughton: Warwickshire over Worcestershire 'hangover', says Bears coach

Bears sport director Ashley Giles (left) and first-team coach Jim Troughton
Bears sport director Ashley Giles (left) and first-team coach Jim Troughton are aiming to bounce back to the top division of the Championship at the first attempt

Warwickshire have made a flying start in their bid to win back their place in Division One of the County Championship at the first attempt.

After drawing their opening game, four straight wins have rocketed the born-again Bears 24 points clear at the top.

But, after playing four of the opening five games at home, they face their two longest away trips of the season - to Kent and Durham - in succession.

"It's a long road trip for us," said Bears coach Jim Troughton.

Before heading to Chester-le Street to face rejuvenated Durham in a match starting on 25 June, the trip to Tunbridge Wells to face One-Day Cup finalists Kent will be a meeting of first against second.

"It's a double-pointer in a way," said Troughton. "It's set up an intriguing fixture for us."

Even more so, as the Bears will be up against a Kent side whose assistant coach is Allan Donald, the former Warwickshire and South Africa fast bowler.

Kuhn and Kent next for Bears

Warwickshire will face Kent hoping that the hosts' South African batsman Heino Kuhn does not take his One-Day Cup form - 664 runs in 10 innings at 94.86, including four centuries - into the Championship, in which he has made 313 runs in nine innings at 44.71, with a highest score of 69 not out.

Kolpak player Kuhn made the difference for Kent against a Worcestershire side that had earned a home One-Day Cup semi-final by winning a classic Bears-Pears contest by one wicket under the Edgbaston lights to top the group and eliminate Warwickshire from the competition.

Heino Kuhn has scored four centuries for Kent in this season's One-Day Cup - but has not made one in the Championship
Heino Kuhn has scored four centuries for Kent in this season's One-Day Cup - but has not made one in the Championship

Troughton said the narrowness of the margin of defeat took some getting over, and it took a team meeting on the second evening of the Championship game that followed against Glamorgan to put it to bed.

"There was a little bit of a hangover from the Worcestershire game," he told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire. "To miss out on qualification was a difficult one to take.

"Mentally and physically that took a lot out of us, but we had a good chat about standards on and off the field and reminded ourselves that we were in a fight and had to put in two more days' hard work to win the Glamorgan game."

'Wright has done a great job for team'

The key to victory was Ian Bell's timely ending of a run of 32 Championship matches without a century by hitting two in the same game.

But Warwickshire bowling coach Graeme Welch is also quick to praise an attack which, because of injuries, has restricted pacemen Olly Stone, Ryan Sidebottom and Keith Barker all to just two out of a possible five appearances this season.

In their place, the Bears have been helped by the emergence of local teenager Henry Brookes, whose 20 wickets from just four games match his captain, spinner Jeetan Patel.

And Welch has particularly pointed out the hard-working job done by the only ever-present in the seam attack, the now fully-fit again Chris Wright, who has taken 14 wickets.

Chris Wright has now taken 244 first-class wickets in his seven seasons with Warwickshire
Chris Wright has now taken 244 first-class wickets in his seven injury-curtailed seasons with Warwickshire

"With Olly Stone and Keith Barker having hamstring injuries and Ryan Sidebottom getting a side strain, it has been a great collective effort," said Welch. "But Henry has come in and done really well, Keith has come back in and the lads have dovetailed.

"They've all taken responsibility and shared the wickets round, but the one person I would pick out is Chris Wright. He has bowled really well. He hasn't yet had the rewards but he will soon. He's done a great job for the team.

"There are still things we can work on. One of my remits is for the bowlers to be going at under three an over in the Championship. At the moment, only Jeets is doing that so that is something to work on. We are under three-and-a-half, which is decent, but there is room for improvement."

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