County Cricket Geared Up For Its Big Day
Tomorrow is the biggest day in the county cricket calendar with the staging of the 11th Twenty20 Finals Day at Edgbaston. Defending champions Hampshire must start as favourites, with 2013’s surprise package and underdogs Northamptonshire surely the neutral’s choice. The ECB, disappointingly but hardly surprisingly, decided not to release any of England’s Test players for the occasion, although that will at least mean that those who have toiled throughout the competition for their sides will be rewarded with what could be the highlight of their careers. We preview both semi-finals below:
Northamptonshire Steelbacks v Essex Eagles (1100 BST start)
The Steelbacks have only once before been to Finals Day, but have certainly enjoyed a strong 2013 and are still in contention for silverware in all three competitions. They welcome back overseas player Richard Levi from international duty with South Africa A and have included Andrew Hall, Rob Keogh, Matthew Spriegel, Ben Duckett and Olly Stone in a 15-man squad.
Northamptonshire squad: Richard Levi, Kyle Coetzer, Alex Wakely (captain), Cameron White, Steven Crook, David Willey, Andrew Hall, James Middlebrook, David Murphy, Lee Daggett, Mohammad Azharullah, Matthew Spriegel, Ben Duckett, Olly Stone, Rob Keogh.
Essex only just scraped through the Group stage and are almost as much the underdogs as Northamptonshire. They are still without Owais Shah due to injury, with New Zealander Hamish Rutherford set to play his final match(es) of the season for the club.
Essex squad: Hamish Rutherford, Mark Pettini, Greg Smith, Ravi Bopara, Ryan ten Doeschate, James Foster (captain), Graham Napier, Tim Phillips, David Masters, Shaun Tait, Reece Topley, Tymal Mills, Jaik Mickleburgh, Ben Foakes, Sajid Mahmood.
Hampshire Royals v Surrey (1430)
The defending champions and favourites have such a settled squad that they have only used 13 players in the competition to date. One of those is skipper Dimitri Mascarenhas, who will be hoping for one last hurrah before hanging up his boots at the end of the season. Batsman Michael Roberts, wicket-keeper Michael Bates and seam-bowlers Hamza Riazuddin and David Griffiths have been added to the likely starting eleven to make up a 15-man squad.
Hampshire squad: Michael Carberry, James Vince, Jimmy Adams, Neil McKenzie, Liam Dawson, Sean Ervine, Adam Wheater, Dimitri Mascarenhas (captain), Chris Wood, Sohail Tanvir, Danny Briggs, David Griffiths, Michael Bates, Hamza Riazuddin, Michael Roberts.
Surrey will be without their usual captain Gareth Batty, banned following his “appalling” behaviour in the quarter-final against Somerset, with Vikram Solanki taking on leadership duties. The Brown Caps also welcome back overseas player Glenn Maxwell from international duty with Australia A and have included rising star and fast-bowler Tom Curran in a 14-man squad.
Surrey squad: Jason Roy, Steven Davies, Vikram Solanki (captain), Glenn Maxwell, Gary Wilson, Azhar Mahmood, Zander de Bruyn, Zafar Ansari, Jon Lewis, Chris Tremlett, Jade Dernbach, Rory Burns, Tim Linley, Tom Curran.
The Friends Life t20 Final is scheduled to start at 1845.
A statistical preview of tomorrow’s games can be found here.
Rain Likely At Edgbaston For Friends Life t20 Finals Day
The forecast for tomorrow’s county cricket showpiece is poor, with rain forecast throughout the late morning, afternoon and early evening. There may be breaks in the cloud, but the use of the reserve day, as per the ECB regulations for the competition, looks likely. Even if the rain does stay away more than expected, it will be cool with maximum temperatures of around 17 degrees Celsius.
Worcestershire Extend Bangladesh Losing Streak
Bangladesh A have now lost all five of their matches against county opposition ahead of their three-match series against the England Lions next week after losing heavily today to Worcestershire at New Road. Pears skipper Daryl Mitchell hit 101 off 102 balls to lead his side’s pursuit of the tourists’ total of 274 for eight. He added 97 in less than 15 overs with 18 year-old debutant opener Tom Kohler-Cadmore (47 off 52 balls) and then a further 92 with Alexei Kervezee (45 off 35) for the second-wicket. Impressive young cricketer Tom Fell then chipped in with an undefeated 42 off 54 balls as the hosts won by six wickets with 15 balls to spare.
Left-arm spinner Shaaiq Choudhry had been the pick of the Worcestershire attack, taking three for 35 to help peg Bangladesh A back after a promising start. Opener Anamul Haque hit 110, adding 77 with Shamsur Rahman (22 off 37) for the first-wicket and 96 with Mominul Haque (64 off 60) for the third. However, there was little of note thereafter, although Naeem Islam’s unbeaten 47 off 35 balls did at least help them post a competitive total.
CA Introduces ‘Robson Rule’
Cricket Australia (CA) has approved changes to its regulations for the Sheffield Shield and other domestic competitions whereby a player born in the country can now play cricket as an overseas player whilst playing as a 'local' player elsewhere.
The move was triggered by the prolific form of Australian-born Middlesex batsman Sam Robson, who is currently playing in England on a UK passport as a ‘local’ player; a fact which denied him from also playing Shield cricket for New South Wales as an overseas player as per CA’s old rules or as a 'local' player according to the ECB's rules. He will now be able to represent the Blues as an overseas player without relinquishing his 'local' player status with Middlesex.
Other Australian county cricketers who are affected by the ruling include Glamorgan’s Michael Hogan, Warwickshire’s Sam Hain and Yorkshire’s Phil Jaques, who could now play Shield cricket this winter. Cricketers who may be able to return to county cricket as ‘local’ players because of the new ruling include Mark Cosgrove and Darren Pattinson. Pattinson, born in Grimsby, had to give up his ‘local’ player status with Nottinghamshire in order to play for Victoria.
CA was forced to act because most players forced to choose between England or Australia chose the former due to the increased financial security provided by 12-month contracts and the increased opportunities provided by 18 counties as opposed to just six states.
This article was corrected on 20th September 2013.
© Cricket World 2013