David Willey, Liam Dawson in Warwickshire’s sights as Paul Farbrace looks to lift club

David Willey, Liam Dawson in Warwickshire’s sights as Paul Farbrace looks to lift club

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He may only have been in the role a few weeks, but Paul Farbrace has clearly seen enough.

Farbrace, who started his new job as director of cricket at Warwickshire about six weeks ago, is so concerned about the performance of his new side that he is on the search for reinforcements with David Willey and Liam Dawson among the more eye-catching targets. Warwickshire are bottom of the top division in the County Championship and failed to progress from the North Group in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

The first player to move to the club is expected to be Michael Burgess, a 24-year-old keeper-batsman who is struggling to break into the Sussex first team with opportunities limited by the presence of Kolpak signing Stiaan van Zyl.

Having developed through the Surrey system – he remains close friends with Warwickshire’s Dominic Sibley – Burgess progressed through the MCCU programme (he went to Loughborough) before signing for Leicestershire. He was released by the club in 2016, but quickly joined Sussex, for whom he has made two Championship centuries and kept in their 2018 T20 campaign in which they finished runners-up to Worcestershire.

Burgess averages 38.91 in first-class cricket and scored 95 in his opening first-class match of the season, against Cardiff MCCU. He was offered a two-year contract extension at Sussex last year, but choose to let his contract run down instead.

He could well play for Warwickshire as a specialist batsman initially, while he would also offer cover – and perhaps succession planning – for Warwickshire’s 36-year-old keeper, Tim Ambrose. Burgess’ arrival – which is anticipated to happen almost immediately – is unlikely to prove especially good news for Warwickshire’s current understudy keeper, Alex Mellor.

Other Warwickshire targets are understood to include Willey – who is currently with Yorkshire – and Hampshire’s Dawson. It is unclear, at this stage, how realistic either target may be, though it is understood Dawson has expressed an interest in a white-ball only contract with Hampshire in the relatively recent past.

Whether they move or not, the attempt to attract them perhaps shows the calibre of player Warwickshire are after, the budget they have and the acceptance that the current squad requires reinforcement.

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