The County Championship resumed this week with the final five rounds of matches to be played, but the biggest news of the week came from Edgbaston where Ian Bell stepped down from the Warwickshire captaincy.
It might seem like a strange time to make a decision like that, but with the county struggling at the bottom of Division One, Belly obviously felt like something needed to be done.
Captaincy isn’t for everyone. Bell led the Bears to the One-Day Cup last year but following the change at the club last winter, with Ashley Giles returning and Jim Troughton taking the head coach role on, they’ve had a difficult season.
Jonathan Trott will be taking over in the Championship, and that could be just what Trott needs. It just goes to show that with all Bell’s experience, all his international prowess, captaincy doesn’t always work. You might be the most talented in the squad, but that doesn’t mean you’re the best captain.
Captaincy can chew you up and spit you out – it’s not easy to create the spirit and togetherness while keeping the communication with all at the club going. Warwickshire have been a massive disappointment, when you take into account their squad and record they have massively underachieved this summer.
They’ve had a lot going on in the last couple of years. Good teams take five or six years to create but it only takes weeks to wreck. Management is crucial, but maybe Trotty can help rebuild that success. If he was ever ready for captaincy, now is the time.
What some teams might find difficult is the transition from T20 Blast back to County Championship, it’s not easy – especially if you’ve experienced quarter-final heartbreak. It can spur you on for the remainder of the season, but ultimately we all get judged on winning, so to get so close and lose is horrible.
I reached Finals Day with Leicestershire a few times, and it’s brilliant. Finals Day is great for clubs, financially, and for players to showcase their talents. T20 cricket can magnify you onto the world stage, every big game is shown across the world.
But your focus has to be on your club. You want to try to take the form and winning mentality into the four-day game and make sure you still produce the goods. Also, you have to get rid of the ‘hangover’ quickly should you have lost.
The County Championship is just as big a stage as the limited-overs formats, and it tends to be towards the end of the season that the younger pros get their opportunities.
These guys will be looking to impress and, whether you’re top or bottom of the table, we’re all managing directors of our own companies so it’s important you give 100 per cent every day.
You’ve got the three teams fighting for the trophy at the end of last season in Somerset, Middlesex and Yorkshire struggling at the other end this time round, and it’s a different type of pressure, and the management will definitely be keeping an eye on how players act.
It’s actually good for each player to feel a bit of disappointment because that’s when you’re true spirit and character shows. Management will be interested to see what comes out when you’re under the pump, and they see how much each player gives to the group.
It’s much easier to be part of a successful team than it is a struggling one.