Nottinghamshire return to white ball action this weekend as the Warwickshire Bears visit Trent Bridge in the sixth match of the Outlaws’ YB40 campaign. Notts will be going into the match with the best record in the country, five wins from five matches, and Director of Cricket Mick Newell is positive ahead of the fixture.
“We’re very confident; I think that we’ll have to remember how well we had played before the break in this competition,” he said.
“There’s a slight danger that they could be playing with a little more relaxation, but we just have to remember how we approached the games earlier in the season and we should be fine.”
The Bears are currently struggling at the base of the table, with only one win in their fixtures in the competition to date. A surprise, by all accounts, especially considering that Warwickshire are the reigning LV= County Champions.
“They are a team who I thought would be higher than they are,” said Newell.
“If you look at the teams that they have had to put out through injuries and international call ups, they’ve really struggled in this competition because of that.
“We’ve been lucky in that respect in that we’ve generally had a fit squad to pick from, and the bonus of having Swanny for two matches.”
This fixture will see the Outlaws reaching the tournament’s half way stage and Newell is keen to celebrate what is developing from an excellent start into an early claim for silverware.
“The YB40 is a tournament where, if you manage to get a good start, performance levels will rise,” he said.
“In contrast, if you don’t start as well then it’s a competition that could fall down the priorities and focus instead goes towards four-day cricket and the upcoming t20 series.”
Notts will be going into the YB40 fixutre on the back of their LV=County Championship match against Derbyshire, a week of match action for the Outlaws rather than the customary days of netting. While the physical preparations may have been different, Newell will not be rushed into making changes.
"We'll be playing on the same pitch as we have done for the four day game, because the other wicket got wet,” he said.
“We’ll be playing to our usual formula of five batsmen, three seamers and two spinners. That formula is pretty set at the moment, so as long as we do the things that we were doing well before, I can’t see there being much of a change really.”
Much of the Outlaws' limited overs success this term has been the result of excellent batting. Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, James Taylor and Samit Patel all contributing to the unbeaten record, and while the former has found runs hard to find in the four-day game, Newell is sure that Hales will be the answer going into this weekend’s fixture.
“We'll stick with Alex,” he said.
“His batting with the white ball and his record in the YB40 tournament is excellent. I’d like to think that he has a point to prove, as he has been out of the four-day side.
“People will be looking to see how he looks on his return to this side, and whether he’s doing his job. If he is, then that hopefully will kick start the rest of his season.”
Another familiar face set to return against Warwickshire is Graeme White, whose loan at Northamptonshire is restricted to four-day matches. The spinner has found opportunities limited, however, thus far, and will surely be looking to make an impression this weekend, and against the Netherlands on Wednesday at Truro.
“If you go out on loan you’re always looking to play and they will be looking at the conditions and the wicket,” said Newell.
“Unfortunately, that’s the story of Whitey’s career at the moment. There’s no question that in one-day cricket he has a vital role for us.”
Notts Outlaws team to face Warwickshire Bears (from): Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, James Taylor, Samit Patel, Ed Cowan, Chris Read, Steven Mullaney, Graeme White, Ajmal Shahzad, Jake Ball, Harry Gurney, Luke Fletcher, Andre Adams