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CHRIS SILVERWOOD: It's crunch time already after disappointing start

PUBLISHED: 10:51 22 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:05 07 September 2010

IT S been a pretty disappointing start to the season for us in the County Championship. In the opener against Leicestershire at Grace Road the weather was atrocious – so cold – but we did not play good cricket. We needed to have pushed on from being 250-2

IT'S been a pretty disappointing start to the season for us in the County Championship.

In the opener against Leicestershire at Grace Road the weather was atrocious - so cold - but we did not play good cricket.

We needed to have pushed on from being 250-2 to 300 and beyond but we let ourselves down in the six-wicket defeat.

In fact, we did not hit our straps until the second day and that was particularly disappointing.

In our first home game at Lord's, against Glamorgan we had to be satisfied with a draw after failing to rack up a big first innings.

Then, against Essex at Chelmsford, we wasted a great chance to record our first win.

It was tough on our two young bowlers Steve Finn and Danny Evans to ask them to wrap up things without the experience of myself and Alan Richardson.

Both of them bowled exceptionally well - they bowled their hearts out - but it was a situation where experience was needed.

We now find ourselves in the position of needing a win against Warwickshire at Edgbaston this week to get our season going.

It is crunch time already.

In the Friends Provident Trophy our record was 50-50 before Sunday's defeat against Essex at Chelmsford.

We got off to a great start in the Trophy with successive wins against Surrey, at the Brit Oval and Kent.

However, it has sort of fizzled out after that. We suffered successive day defeats to Surrey and Sussex and went into last Sunday's game knowing we could not afford to lose another game in that competition.

There's no doubt we've let ourselves down in the Championship so far. It is crunch time and we've got to get a win under our belts.

To be brutally honest, it is something we have to rectify and rectify quickly.

In our three Championship games to date we've reached the 200s but then became scrappy for 300-plus scores. We have to start scoring 400-plus in an innings.

Bowling-wise, we are missing experience - Alan Richardson is some way from being fit after another operation on his ankle while I've just started turning my arm again following my troublesome left knee.

I travelled with the team down to Chelmsford on Sunday for some bowling practice but was not part of the team.

I've an outside chance of being involved against Warwickshire this week.

It will be tough at Edgbaston - it is usually a good wicket and we'll have to bowl well. We also have to post a strong first innings.

We need to regain some momentum. They say that winning is a habit. Well, losing can also become a habit and everyone needs to give an extra five to 10 per cent to get us off the mark.

One person who has been giving that extra percentage is our new coach Toby Radford, who took over towards the end of last season. Toby is a fresh face who generates a lot of energy. He is very organised and that's something that we players really appreciate.

He's really good at making sure the little things are in place and is doing a good job.

Much has been made of our young players and I feel it is time that batsmen such as Billy Godleman and Eoin Morgan - he scored an outstanding century in the Trophy on Sunday - to push on and become good county cricketers.

They have undoubted potential, which they need to start fulfilling. Steve Finn and Danny Evans are two more youngsters who has attracted much attention for their bowling.

Steve is exceptionally tall at 6ft 8in - he is one of the longest people I know - and needs to keep on developing. He's got good away swing and is bound to fill out and get stronger. But he also needs to avoid injury.

Danny is another good young bowler who is tall and direct and can make an impact.

It is a big step up for all the young players but they will certainly get their chance under Toby this season.

Chris Silverwood was talking to sports editor

Patrick Mooney


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