Giles sets sights on Somerset
Warwickshire chief Ashley Giles expects his side's season-opener against Somerset to be a huge test of their title credentials.
By Joe Drabble - Twitter: @SkySportsDrabs
Last Updated: 11/04/12 2:10pm
Warwickshire director of cricket Ashley Giles expects his side's opening league fixture against Somerset to be a huge test of their title credentials.
The Bears begin the domestic season looking to avenge a heart-breaking end to 2011, where they missed out on the County Championship Division One title following a final-day draw at Hampshire.
A pre-season tour of Barbados has done much to lift spirits and Warwickshire, who missed the opening round of fixtures, will now attempt to hit the ground running against fellow title hopefuls Somerset at Edgbaston this week.
Giles told skysports.com: "Preparations went great. We start pre-season in November nowadays but the guys have done as much as they can and we just want to get on with the show.
"Somerset beat us twice two years ago and we beat them twice last year so it's going to be an interesting battle. We played them first game last year and here we go again. They're a good side, they're well led, I know Marcus (Trescothick) very well and they're going to be well-organised. We've got to be ready.
"The guys have all been looking at ways to get that little bit of improvement to get us over the line. All you can do is work as hard as you can. All we can do as coaches is get players in the best position we can, and then we go from there.
"I've always said the most important thing is to be in a position where we can strike come August, if we can do that then we'll have a chance because generally we finish very well. We won't worry too much about winning Championships in April."
Warwickshire, tipped for relegation as oppose to the title 12 months ago, took Division One by storm with nine victories from their 16 matches before being pipped to the title by Lancashire.
Former England international Giles admits his side were probably taken lightly by their rivals last season, but believes there will be no danger of that happening again this summer.
Asked about the expectation levels at the club this term, Giles added: "There's always expectations to manage but that's all perception really. We've just got to do what we can.
"We believe we've got a good squad and we've got a good side. I think it will have an effect on how sides play against us because I think some sides took us lightly last year on the back of the previous year so I think they'll be more prepared for us."
The Bears will be without key pace duo Chris Woakes and Boys Rankin - who took over 100 first-class wickets between them last season - for the opening fixture against a Somerset side who kicked off their campaign with victory over Middlesex.
But rather than dwelling on the setbacks, Giles is attempting to put a positive spin on the situation, and believes it will present fellow pace bowlers such as new signing Chris Wright with an ideal chance to step up to the place.
The Warwickshire coach added: "It's a massive blow, it would be to any side, to lose Chris and Boyd, but we're hoping it's not going to be for too long, and we're hoping to put a positive spin on it that they'll have a bit of rest, we've got cover and when they come back they'll be fit and firing.
"Chris (Wright) has been a great singing for us. He came in last year and did very well, added to the squad straight away and I'm excited to have him here.
"We've got good depth with Keith Barker, Neil Carter, Andy Miller, Rikki Clarke, so we've got them to call upon."