What Happened Last Year?
To say that the 2020 season was a disappointment for Warwickshire would be an understatement. After finishing 3rd in the north group having failed to win a single game, Warwickshire will have plenty to prove in 2021.
The good news is that of the five games completed last season, Warwickshire only lost one game while drawing four.
The batting last year for Warwickshire was very top-heavy with only three players averaging over 26. Former England all-rounder Tim Bresnan enjoyed a renaissance after moving to Edgebaston scoring 214 runs at an average of 53.50. Will Rhodes (52.87) and 19-year-old Dan Mousley (49.66) were impressive with the bat.
Warwickshire will be hoping to have the services of England bowler Olly Stone this year after the fast bowler was restricted to just 17 overs last season. Oliver Hannon-Dalby was the standout with the ball in 2020 taking 25 wickets for a 20.92 average.
Key Player for 2021
With Dominic Sibley missing the season due to England duty, Will Rhodes picked up the slack and at just 25 years of age the club captain had his finest first-class season by a wide margin. With the lack of batting talent around him, he'll need to again score a bucketful of runs to give Warwickshire a chance of progressing. Sibley may be available for portions of the season, and having him back to open the batting with Rhodes can only help.
The question for Warwickshire and for Rhodes is whether his 2020 form is the new normal or a mirage. In the shortened season his average of 52.87 is over 15 runs higher than his career average. If he can maintain an average around 45 for a full season, not only will it help Warwickshires chances of progressing through to Division one of the second stage, it'll also put his name in contention for England.
It would be too easy to pick Will Rhodes here, so instead, I'm going to pick out Dan Mousley instead. At the moment he holds a very modest 30.40 average, but his limited chances in 2020 were grasped to the tune of a fine 49.66 average, all be it over just 3 innings of work.
However this isn't overly unexpected, Mousley has been in and around the England youth ranks for some time and after finishing as the leading run-scorer for England during the 2020 U19 World Cup, expectations have only risen. He's a fine batsmen with a huge future, so lets hope he gets ample opportunity to showcase his talents in Birmingham this year.
Sam Hain is another man to watch, but he's more suited to 50 over cricket and is likely to get his first taste of international cricket in ODI's.
The target for this year?
Warwickshire have too much talent to be navigating a whole season without a win, regardless of how long the season was. If we see Rhodes and Mousley maintain their form from 2020, and if Tim Bresnam can keep rewinding the clock I fancy they to do better this year. The hope will be that they will have Olly Stone fit and raring to go and if they do, it changes the dynamic of the bowling unit.
Warwickshire's Sam Hain was disappointing last year as he averaged under 20, but he's a much better batsman than that, and he'll be looking to have a bounce-back season in 2021.
Warwickshire have also brought in South African batsman Pieter Malan to strengthen the side, and with his first-class average hovering above 44, he should do exactly that.
Overseas players: Pieter Malan (South Africa), Carlos Braithwaite (West Indies, T20 Only)