By being better than everyone else. They’ve won a few matches and when they haven’t won, they’ve generally drawn. They’ve only lost once. That’s easily enough to win the County Championship in a wet summer.
One thing Warwickshire players have been particularly good at this year is hitting the ball using their cricket bats. When no other side could bat out a session at the start of the season, Warwickshire did – and they’ve pretty much just carried on all season.
In all, nine different players have hit hundreds and they have 18 centuries between them. By way of contrast, last year’s champions, Lancashite (sic), have six hundreds and only three players have made it to three figures.
Similarly, Warwickshire have eight players averaging over 40 this year; Lancashire have three averaging over 30 – one of whom is number 10 batsman, Kyle Hogg, who has eight not outs to his name. However, the Warwickshire magic is best exemplified by loan signing, Big Fat Ian Blackwell.
Big Fat Ian Blackwell played five matches for Durham this season and averaged 17. In three matches for Warwickshire, he averages 61.33.
Warwickshire have also been pretty good at preventing their opponents from hitting the ball properly using their bats. Quite often, the ball has hit only a little bit of the bat, on the edge, and the ball has then gone backwards and been snaffled by a slyly-positioned fielder.
Some say that the men doing the bowling have been encouraging this to happen by making the ball do funny things after they’ve let go of it. We cannot confirm this, but Keith Barker and Chris Wright have both taken over 50 wickets at an average in the low 20s, while Jeetan Patel took 46 at a similar average.
No, we’re not talking about Big Fat Ian Blackwell (although he is an all-rounder as well as being all round). We’re talking about Chris Woakes and Rikki Clarke. Woakes has averaged 87.75 with the bat and 23.32 with the ball. Clarke has averaged 46.13 with the bat and 26.50 with the ball.
You could throw in Tim Ambrose as well, we suppose. The wicketkeeper has averaged 44.50 this season and that is undoubtedly ‘a good thing’ because Ambrose had a right flop after being dropped by England and ended up getting dropped by Warwickshire as well. Good on him for not descending into forlorn debauchery, playing Jenga for money and selling spokey-dokeys on the black market.
Did Warwickshire do anything wrong?
Yes, they are guilty of false advertising. The Warwickshire players are not actual bears. If you go to a match expecting ursine sporting entertainment, you are going to be SORELY disappointed.