(Photo: Getty Images)
By Paul Bolton
Warwickshire rediscovered some of their fighting qualities after a motivational speech from the most successful captain in their history.
Dermot Reeve led Warwickshire to six trophies in three seasons between 1993 and 1995, including a treble in 1994, and established a reputation as one of the game’s most original and innovative thinkers.
Reeve is now based in Australia but he was in England earlier this week and was invited to Edgbaston by his former county team-mate Ashley Giles, now Warwickshire’s sport director, to talk about the county’s glory years.
Reeve’s speech seemed to have the desired positive impact as Warwickshire, led by Andy Umeed’s attritional century, battled bravely through four murky days as they attempted to turn their season round.
“Dermot was at Taunton when we played down there so we asked him to come up to say ‘hello’ in the dressing room. While he was there I said we are talking a lot about culture and I thought it would be great if he could come in and talk about his version of what culture is, the Nineties dressing room and his beliefs,” Giles said.
“He was great. Given where we are in the season, it was a great time for him to come in because he has a positive outlook on everything and that’s not easy when you are in the middle of where we are. The timing was perfect for us.
“Dermot is one of our old Bears and a very important part of our history given his leadership and what we did. I think we need to stay in touch with that.
“We can tell stories of the Nineties team that I grew up in but hearing it from the horse’s mouth is different. Some of it is almost unbelievable but it happened.
“One thing we did really well back then is that everyone was encouraged to really enjoy their cricket, what they did and each other’s company and also to really express themselves on the field.
“Take your chances, practise hard, practise specifically but, when you are out there, to have some confidence in yourself that you can do the job.
“The room was quiet and his session was quite interactive as well. Dermot involved the guys and got them chatting.”
The positive mood that Reeve generated was deflated slightly when opening batsman Ian Westwood, another former captain, announced after the meeting that he would be retiring from playing with immediate effect but Warwickshire are keen to keep him involved.
Westwood has been given an informal coaching role until the end of the season and he was back in the Edgbaston dressing room on Wednesday.
Result: Warwickshire (321) drew with Lancashire (273 & 178-4)