Giles expects title charge
Warwickshire coach Ashley Giles expects his new-improved bowling attack to push the county close to silverware this summer.
By Joe Drabble
Last Updated: 08/04/10 12:09pm
Warwickshire director of cricket Ashley Giles has told skysports.com he expects his new-improved bowling attack to push the county close to silverware this summer.
The West Midlands county acquired the services of experienced Pakistan-born leg-spinner Imran Tahir in the winter in a bid to boost their title chances in all forms of the game.
Tahir took 52 wickets in 12 County Championship matches for Hampshire last term, and Giles is expecting a similar strike-rate from his overseas recruit in the upcoming campaign.
Speaking ahead of Friday's season-opener against Yorkshire at Edgbaston, Giles told skysports.com: "We are really looking forward to getting on with it, we have prepared really well, the guys are in good shape, everyone is back, so on with the show.
"Imran Tahir is a good signing for us, he's a leg-spinner with a lot of experience in this country, he is a player with a fantastic strike rate who gets wickets.
"We have got a good young seam attack and Imran can back them up with his experience and hopefully he brings that to the fore.
"If you have got a strike bowler who can get you 50-plus wickets you are always going to be in with a good shout (of silverware)."
Defeat to Lancashire on the final day of the 2009 County Championship campaign saw Warwickshire end their first season back in the top flight in fifth place.
A positive result at Old Trafford would have seen the Bears finish second behind runaway champions Durham.
The Bears also enjoyed a much-improved limited-overs campaign after winning Division Two of the Pro40 and reaching the quarter-finals of the Twenty20 Cup.
"We compete across all competitions and we don't single out any one," Giles added.
"I guess that has been the challenge and the battle for all counties. Durham have dominated four-day cricket but not done so well in one-day cricket. Sussex have done well in one-day cricket but not the other way round.
"It's a big challenge to compete for all trophies, but you've got to. There are only three to compete for this year so you have got to put a squad together and have plans in place to challenge cross the board."
Warwickshire wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose believes he and his team-mates are better equipped than last season to launch a serious challenge on the County Championship title.
The England gloveman endured what he described as a "terrible" season with the bat in 2009 - despite averaging just over 34 - and he hopes a winter away from cricket will improve his form this time around.
"I've had six months off, that's the longest break I've had for about five years and that has given me the chance to get the hunger back and be keen again," he said.
"It was a terrible season for me last year, it was rubbish. I had a couple of knocks towards the end that were important and I was proud of because they were in big games.
"I struggled a bit last year personally because of the weather. There were a lot of games that didn't mean anything and I've never been motivated by batting for averages or stuff like that.
"Hopefully the weather is better this year and we are going to have games where there is something riding on it. We are going to play positive cricket and look to get result cricket so that should be a lot more fun and exciting.
"Our main goal is to win Division One. If we had drawn the final game of last season we would have come second so we weren't exactly that far off.
"We have certainly got the power, we have strengthened the squad over the winter and if we play the kind of cricket we did towards the end of last year with even better players we are in with a chance."