CRICKET: Captain Bell on tomorrow’s vital game with fellow strugglers Somerset

Ian Bell
Ian Bell

Warwickshire skipper keen to keep up momentum from impressive win over Yorkshire

Warwickshire face fellow-strugglers Somerset in a vital Specsavers County Championship game at Taunton tomorrow (Friday) aiming to keep up the momentum from an impressive Royal London Cup victory over Yorkshire last Sunday.

The five-wicket win over the White Rose came far too late to salvage a disappointing 50-over campaign for the Bears. But to beat a team containing a handful of England players including Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow was a morale-boosting springboard for the return to championship action.

“It was a disappointing 50-over campaign but we stuck together as a group, which is really good, and finished on a high against a very good Yorkshire side so we will take that confidence down to Somerset,” said captain Ian Bell.

“Taunton is a tough place to go. I think we know what we are going to get, we’ve have seen the kind of wickets they produce over the last couple of years now, so it should be no shock to anyone that it’s going to spin. But we’ll go there in a good frame of mind after the win over Yorkshire and think about that game and nothing else.”

Even this early in the season this is a game which either side can barely afford to lose. Somerset are bottom of Division One, having lost their first two matches, while the Bears are directly above them after taking just three points from their first two games before a much-improved performance saw them draw at home to Surrey.

“It has been a hugely damaging start for us, but in a way I think that takes a little bit of pressure off us. The pressure is on other people who might be expecting to beat us after the start we’ve had.

“We need individuals to stand up and perform and we saw it a little bit in the game at home to Surrey. Ian Westwood played particularly well and we shaped up and started to look like our old selves.

“We know where we are as a group and it’s going to take a little bit of time. So we need the supporters to be patient and stick with us and I will make sure that every time we go out there we have got 11 guys scrapping for Warwickshire. We will be giving absolutely everything we’ve got down at Taunton and hopefully the Yorkshire game last Sunday was a kick-start for us.

“Over the last ten years this club has won more trophies than any other county but it’s not always going to be like that. When everything’s easy, anyone can play the game, but you have to take the rough sometimes and then you start to see the character of people. I want to see people who want to put a Bear on their shirt and go out and fight for Warwickshire.”

Bell will at least head to the crease at Taunton in excellent personal form having rounded off the 50-over group with scores of 93, 104 and 98.

“Last year was a little bit frustrating at times because I made starts without really going on,” he said. “But I feel like I’m starting to move nicely and play well and now I want to kick on again with my batting. I want to lead as a captain but also as a batsman - that’s so important to me.”