We preview the penultimate round of LV= County Championship games in which leaders Durham host relegation-threatened Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire host Middlesex.
LV= County Championship Round 19 Fixtures:
(matches begin at 1030 BST unless otherwise stated)
Durham v Nottinghamshire at Chester-le-Street (1015 BST start)
Durham have made one change to their squad and know that a win will see them crowned champions. Ben Stokes will make the dash from Southampton following his exploits for England tonight and replaces off-spinner Ryan Buckley in a 13-man squad. The match will start at 1015 each day to allow the visitors an extra hour’s travelling time on Friday ahead of their Yorkshire Bank 40 final on Saturday.
Durham squad: Mark Stoneman, Keaton Jennings, Scott Borthwick, Will Smith, Ben Stokes, Paul Collingwood (captain), Phil Mustard, Usman Arshad, Jamie Harrison, Graham Onions, Chris Rushworth, Mitchell Claydon, Michael Richardson.
Nottinghamshire have named axed opener Alex Hales in their squad and will probably secure Division One status for 2014 with a win.
Nottinghamshire squad: Steven Mullaney, Riki Wessels, Michael Lumb, James Taylor, Samit Patel, David Hussey, Chris Read (captain), Paul Franks, Luke Fletcher, Andre Adams, Harry Gurney, Jake Ball, Ajmal Shahzad, Alex Hales.
Warwickshire v Surrey at Edgbaston
The Bears sit mid-table and will hand a first game of the season to short-term signing Jamie Atkinson. The wicket-keeper, who was born in Hong Kong, replaces the injured pair of Tim Ambrose and Pete McKay. Ambrose could play as a specialist batsman. William Porterfield and Boyd Rankin are both available after returning from international duty.
Warwickshire squad: Varun Chopra (captain), Ian Westwood, William Porterfield, Laurie Evans, Tim Ambrose, Chris Woakes, Rikki Clarke, Keith Barker, Jamie Atkinson, Jeetan Patel, Boyd Rankin, Maurice Chambers, Ateeq Javid, Recardo Gordon.
Surrey simply have to win to keep alive their slim hopes of staying in Division One for next season. They are without fast-bowler George Edwards, who has an ankle problem, while Dominic Sibley has again been preferred to Arun Harinath at the top of the order.
Surrey squad: Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Hashim Amla, Vikram Solanki, Gary Wilson, Steven Davies, Zafar Ansari, Gareth Batty (captain), Stuart Meaker, Chris Tremlett, Jade Dernbach, Tim Linley, Zander de Bruyn, Gary Keedy.
Yorkshire v Middlesex at Headingley
Yorkshire are unchanged as they seek the win that could keep them in the title race should Durham slip up against Nottinghamshire.
Yorkshire squad: Adam Lyth, Phil Jaques, Kane Williamson, Andrew Gale (captain), Jonny Bairstow, Gary Ballance, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Ryan Sidebottom, Steven Patterson, Jack Brooks, Alex Lees, Richard Pyrah.
Middlesex have decided against playing their England player Eoin Morgan, while Steven Finn has not been made available by the ECB. Instead, they welcome back Corey Collymore into their 12-man squad, while Tom Hel retains his place as Ravi Patel has a stress fracture of his back. Middlesex could yet end up second in Division One if they can beat Yorkshire.
Middlesex squad: Chris Rogers (captain), Sam Robson, Joe Denly, Dawid Malan, Neil Dexter, John Simpson, Gareth Berg, Ollie Rayner, James Harris, Tim Murtagh, Corey Collymore, Tom Helm.
Essex v Glamorgan at Chelmsford
Essex should be able to call on Ravi Bopara as they seek to put pressure on Northamptonshire for the final promotion place, with Ben Foakes the man set to miss out when the final eleven is named.
Essex squad: Jaik Mickleburgh, Gautam Gambhir, Greg Smith, Ravi Bopara, Owais Shah, Ryan ten Doeschate, James Foster (captain), Graham Napier, David Masters, Monty Panesar, Reece Topley, Sajid Mahmood, Ben Foakes.
Glamorgan have rested Jim Allenby and Graham Wagg with an eye on the YB40 final at Lord’s on Saturday. Into the squad comes young batsman David Lloyd, with John Glover also pushing for a place in the final eleven by replacing Mike Reed.
Glamorgan squad: Will Bragg, Gareth Rees, Murray Goodwin, Chris Cooke, Ben Wright, Mark Wallace (captain), Ruaidhri Smith, Andrew Salter, John Glover, Dean Cosker, Michael Hogan, David Lloyd.
Gloucestershire v Lancashire at Bristol
Gloucestershire skipper Michael Klinger will play his final game of the season prior to returning to Australia. The home side harbour hopes of a third-place finish in Division Two, and can mathematically still gain promotion, although fourth is a more realistic target.
Gloucestershire squad: Michael Klinger (captain), Chris Dent, Gareth Roderick, Alex Gidman, Hamish Marshall, Benny Howell, Will Gidman, Tom Smith, Craig Miles, David Payne, Matt Taylor, Graeme McCarter, Ian Cockbain.
Lancashire need 12 points to guarantee their position as Division Two champions, but will have to do without Simon Katich, who will represent Perth Scorchers in the Champions League T20. Karl Brown replaces him in the 13-man squad, while Glen Chapple returns from injury.
Lancashire squad: Paul Horton, Luis Reece, Ashwell Prince, Karl Brown, Andrea Agathangelou, Tom Smith, Luke Procter, Alex Davies, Glen Chapple (captain), Kyle Hogg, Simon Kerrigan, Oliver Newby, Kyle Jarvis.
Leicestershire v Hampshire at Grace Road
The hosts are the only side not to have won a game in the Championship in 2013, but will hope to change all that in what will be Matthew Hoggard’s farewell fixture. They also welcome back Shiv Thakor from injury, with Ollie Freckingham and Rob Taylor the men to miss out.
Leicestershire squad: Greg Smith, Angus Robson, Ned Eckersley, Matthew Boyce (captain), Shiv Thakor, Niall O’Brien, Ben Raine, Tom Wells, James Sykes, Nathan Buck, Matthew Hoggard, Alex Wyatt, Michael Thornely.
Hampshire are without Michael Carberry and Neil McKenzie as they travel to wooden-spoonists Leicestershire. Ruel Brathwaite, Danny Briggs and Sean Terry are named in a 12-man squad, with David Balcombe and Michael Roberts missing out.
Hampshire squad: Jimmy Adams, Sean Terry, Liam Dawson, James Vince, Sean Ervine, Adam Wheater, Michael Bates, Matt Coles, Chris Wood, Danny Briggs, Ruel Brathwaite, James Tomlinson.
Northamptonshire v Kent at Wantage Road
The home side need to score four points more than Essex to more or less secure a return to the top flight. They are without Trent Copeland, who has returned to Australia ahead of their domestic season. He is replaced by Lee Daggett, who will retire at the end of the year.
Northamptonshire squad: Stephen Peters (captain), James Middlebrook, David Sales, Alex Wakely, Rob Keogh, Andrew Hall, Matthew Spriegel, Steven Crook, David Murphy, Lee Daggett, Mohammad Azharullah, Olly Stone.
Sam Billings and Adam Ball are the new names in the Kent squad, while James Tredwell returns from international duty to lead the side. The men omitted are Geraint Jones and Calum Haggett. Jones has been left out to end a run of 115 Championship games, while Haggett has a slight thigh strain.
Kent squad: Rob Key, Sam Northeast, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Brendan Nash, Ben Harmison, Darren Stevens, Sam Billings, Adam Ball, James Tredwell, Mark Davies, Charlie Shreck, Adam Riley.
Weather Forecast: Rain will again cause problems in the penultimate round of the LV= County Championship. A band is expected to make its way in from the south-west tomorrow morning and will cover large parts of England for much of the day. The east should see some play initially, with the west possibly following suit later. Temperatures will be subdued, peaking at between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius.
County Cricket News In Brief:
Gloucestershire have extended the contracts of four players. New Zealand-born batsman Hamish Marshall and young fast-bowler Craig Miles have signed until the end of the 2016 season, while batsman Ian Cockbain and seam-bowler Liam Norwell have penned deals until the end of 2015.
Derbyshire CCC are considering locating their main ground to a site either in Chesterfield or in the south of the county. The preferred option is to remain at the County Ground, but that depends on what agreement they can come to with their landlord, Derby City Council, to reduce the running costs and fund redevelopment. The two parties met on Friday to discuss matters and will meet again in a fortnight according to the Derby Telegraph.
Alex Hales has told BBC Sport that, following initial talks with Nottinghamshire coach Mick Newell, he is hopeful of being allowed to enter next year’s IPL auction. Hales, and his county colleague, Michael Lumb, were both barred from entering the 2013 auction by Newell.
Sussex Women have won the Women’s County Championship for the sixth time in a decade after beating Yorkshire in the final. England player Sarah Taylor hit a century, while 16 year-old Izzy Collins hit an undefeated half-century.
© Cricket World 2013