Warwickshire: Clarke and Wright lead Bears' England hopefuls

Chris Wright and Rikki Clarke help celebrate the Bears' title triumph

It was hardly one of the great sporting shocks that, when Ashley Giles came to pick his first England one-day squad for this summer's Champions Trophy, there should be six Warwickshire men in it.

It is, after all, only a preliminary 30-man squad that the former Bears coach, now England's one-day supremo, has chosen.

And, while Warwickshire's three England winter tourists Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott and Chris Woakes were pretty much bound to feature, it should not be forgotten that opener Varun Chopra, paceman Chris Wright and all-rounder Rikki Clarke have also been on international duty, after being picked for the England Lions' trip to Australia in February.

As far as the Bears' unheralded trio of Clarke, Wright and Chopra are concerned, being part of Giles's plans this summer is reward for the part they played in steering their team so close to cricket's domestic double in 2012.

Sadly for them, having wrapped up the County Championship in comfort against Worcestershire at New Road nine days earlier, they then suffered a final-ball defeat in the CB40 final against Hampshire at Lord's.

But, as far as Wright and Clarke are concerned, although being in the national spotlight is exciting, it is only the continued pursuit of silverware that will keep them in England contention.

"It's not worth thinking about too much," Wright told BBC WM.

"If you want to get recognised a level up, then, if Warwickshire win trophies again, people might ask, 'why do they keep doing it?'

"But trying to win those trophies has to be the priority."

At 27, if Wright does go on to build on his stunning Championship record for Warwickshire of 84 wickets in just 20 matches, this late developer's story and his success since leaving Essex for Edgbaston in August 2011 to work under Bears bowling coach Graeme Welch would make for a good tale.

But, for 31-year-old Clarke, 10 years on from his two Test appearances and having not played one-day international cricket since 2006, an even better story could yet be in the making.

The former Surrey and Derbyshire all-rounder realises that his winter call-up for the Lions may add up to his last chance with England. And, after last summer's first-class haul of 824 runs and 26 wickets, he is focussed on doing everything he can for the Bears this summer to keep himself in the frame.

"You've always got to have hope," Clarke told BBC Sport.

"Ashley Giles has been a massive help over the last three or four years and he knows what I'm capable of.

"I've looked after myself, trained hard and played some of the best, most consistent cricket I've played in a long time.

"I've had to learn my trade and maybe it's taken me longer than I wanted. But I'm in a position now where I feel I'm ready when, in previous years, I wasn't.

"I look at someone like Mike Hussey. He did not play for Australia until he was 30, but he's gone on to play 79 Tests.

"And hopefully you're never too old. It's just a case of keeping up my performances for Warwickshire and trying to keep knocking on the door."

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