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George Dobell at New Road
September 7, 2012
Jim Troughton has admitted that the pain of missing out on the Championship title in 2011 played a large part in pushing his side to go the extra step in 2012.
Warwickshire went into the final day of last season requiring only seven wickets against already relegated Hampshire to win the title. However, on a slow, flat West End pitch that had been moved into the middle of the square on the request of Sky so the game could be televised, Hampshire's batsmen denied them, leaving Warwickshire bitterly disappointed.
"That was tough to take," Troughton said following his side's crushing innings and 202-run win over Worcestershire that sealed the 2012 title. "To have worked so hard and gone so close last year was really painful. Everyone was hurting.
"But, even the next day, we were talking about what we had to do to improve. I remember, as we sat in the dressing room right after the game, we said: right, be proud of what you've achieved, but let this be the catalyst to win the title with a game in hand next year."
Troughton, a product of Warwickshire's youth system and captain for the last two years, was part of the team that won the 2004 County Championship. Yet he felt that this success was even more significant for him and the club.
"I was a young lad when we won it in 2004," Troughton said. "Maybe I took it for granted a bit. And we won it off the field.
"This is the pinnacle of my career. It's a career that does contain some regrets - I regret not being able to make it at the highest level - but I have been here since I was 11 and this club is so close to my heart. Leading them to the most prized possession in county cricket is the pinnacle of my career. It's made my career.
"I've been watching the Olympics like everyone else lately and you think 'that'll never be me'. But this is the equivalent of that for me. The hairs on the back of my neck are standing up as we - and that's the guys behind the scenes as much as the team - have achieved our dream. We've done what we set out to do 12 months ago."
Troughton was particularly keen to credit the input of Warwickshire's director of cricket, Ashley Giles. Giles took over in 2007 after the team had been relegated in both forms of the game and went on to assemble and nurture a unit that has been able to shrug off the absences of key players to international call-ups or injuries. He also stuck with Troughton despite the captain's horrible form with the bat in the early part of the season. Until June, Troughton averaged just 6.25 in the Championship, with a top-score of 15 not out.
"This is just as much Ashley Giles' victory as any one of the players," Troughton said. "And he has got to realise what a fantastic job he has done. We're both Warwickshire through and through and we both wanted this so much.
"When we took over at the end of 2007 we knew we needed a strong hand. We had lost some big players - guys like Nick Knight, Dougie Brown and Mark Wagh - and there were times when he needed to be autocratic. He pushed us hard; very hard at times.
"But he also backed me when I wasn't producing runs. I was at the point where I needed that. It's a big family at Warwickshire."
Most captains might be happy to savour their success for a while before looking to the future but Troughton insists this is just the start for a squad that appears to have the depth, the youth and the ambition to challenge for several years. In little more than a week, they have a chance of picking up their second trophy of the season when they meet Hampshire in the final of the CB40 at Lord's.
"This isn't the top of the mountain for this team," Troughton said. "It's a young bowling line-up with plenty of years left in them and there are areas we can all improve. It's all about creating a legacy. Us players, we pass through the gates of Edgbaston and we move on. But every one of this squad will be remembered now. This isn't the end of the line.
"I love playing for Warwickshire. I love being part of the culture of the club and representing the team that achieved such success in the 1990s. But it's time for this team to create our own legacy."
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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