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Several senior players down, Warwickshire must first focus on survival on their Division One return

COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW: Sam Hain, Will Rhodes and Dom Sibley - alongside the class of Ian Bell - form a batting order great potential, one that will hope to survive life after Jonathan Trott

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Ins: Craig Miles (Gloucestershire), Liam Norwell (Gloucestershire)

Outs: Jonathan Trott (retired), Josh Poysden (Yorkshire), Chris Wright (Leicestershire), Boyd Rankin, Sunny Singh, Andrew Umeed (all released), Grant Elliott (retired), Keith Barker (Hampshire)

Fixture list: April 11 - Kent (h); May 14 - Hampshire (h); May 20 - Somerset (a); May 27 - Surrey (h); June 3 - Nottinghamshire (h); June 17 - Yorkshire (a); June 24 - Surrey (a); June 30 - Kent (a); July 7 - Hampshire (a); July 13 - Essex (h); August 18 - Somerset (h); September 10 - Essex (a); September 16 - Nottinghamshire (a); September 23 - Yorkshire (h)

Remind me what happened last year?

They got the job done. After relegation in 2017, Warwickshire finished as table-toppers in 2018, losing just twice in their promotion campaign. Ian Bell, at the tender age of 36, enjoyed a 1,000-plus-run year, hitting five centuries.

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Warwickshire face life without Jonathan Trott

What’s happened over the winter?

The big news is that Warwickshire have acquired the services of Paul Farbrace. In February the club announced that England’s assistant coach was to become their sport director, succeeding Ashely Giles who took up the role of managing director of England men’s cricket.

Farbrace, who forgoes England’s World Cup and Ashes campaigns, said: "Warwickshire is a very special club with incredibly proud traditions, and I'm very excited at being given this opportunity.”

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Who’s arrived and who’s left?

After 16 years with the club, Jonathan Trott, who averaged 46.75 in 2018, has retired. With 18,662 first-class runs and 46 hundreds to his name, that’s a whole lot of experience to replace.

With the experienced duo of Keith Barker, who is swapping Edgbaston for the Ageas Bowl, and Chris Wright who departs for Leicestershire, the Bears have replenished their bowling corps with the additions of Gloucestershire’s Craig Miles and Liam Norwell - both signing three-year deals.

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Olly Stone will be important when fit

Who will be the key men in 2019?

Sam Hain, Will Rhodes and Dom Sibley - alongside the class of Ian Bell - form a batting order great potential, one that will hope to survive life after Trotty. Bell will miss the start of the season following foot surgery, however, and could be out for as long as three months.

The raw pace of Olly Stone - who signed a new deal until 2022 earlier this year - will be key this season. However, the 25-year-old, who claimed 43 wickets at 12.21 in 2018, could miss the start of the season due to a back injury which forced him to leave England’s tour of West Indies.

Twenty-four-year-old Miles picked up 56 wickets at 21.07 in 2018 and will be expected to lead the line in Stone’s absence.

Nineteen-year-old Henry Brookes (21 wickets at 22.38 last year) is another who will seek plenty of opportunities to continue his development in 2019.

What can we expect from this team this season?

A fight to stay in the top division, but one they have prepared for adequately with a couple of shrewd signings.

Despite Trott’s retirement, there’s talent in the batting order. The trio of Hain, Rhodes and Sibley all impressed last season and are primed to stamp their mark on the top division.

On the bowling front, Warwickshire will need Stone to remain fit and Miles to acclimatise to Division One swiftly if they are to trouble opposing line-ups.

Prediction: 6th

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