T20 Blast bite-size preview: Birmingham Bears

England

Rebranded and raring to go, despite the absence of the retired Darren Maddy, Warwickshire's T20 contingent will want a better finish than last year's fourth place in the Midlands Division.

<b>Brief Overview:</b> Rebranded and raring to go, despite the absence of the retired Darren Maddy, Warwickshire's T20 contingent will want a better finish than last year's fourth place in the Midlands Division.

<b>Venue:</b> Sporting probably the best atmosphere of any English ground, when Edgbaston – aka: The Bullring – gets going it can be tough for visiting teams. A period of significant renovation at the end of the 1990s produced the new Cricket Centre and the £2million Hollies Stand.

<b>Batsman To Watch:</b> Former England all-rounder Rikki Clarke put his hand up for an Indian Premier League contract – but was rejected. There remains fight in the old dog yet, regardless.

<b>Bowler To Watch:</b> All-rounder Chris Woakes sports a bright international future, but is still modestly grounded in county cricket. An ability to bowl wicket to wicket – and explore wider angles – will be key.

<b>Overseas Signings:</b> Spinner Jeetan Patel snubbed a recall to the New Zealand squad to honour his county contract. Club before country has never been more acutely epitomised.

<b>Know Your Mascot:</b> Edgbaston's Carmen Bear will be joined by fellow Bear Hugh, Aston Villa's Hercules and Bella, Birmingham City's Beau Brummie, Coventry City's Sky Blue Sam, Walsall's Swifty, West Bromwich Albion's Baggie and Albi Bird, and Wolves' Wolfie and Wendy in an extended mascot derby on 23 May.

<b>Cricket365's Prediction:</b> Fourth in North Division.

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