We preview all eight matches ahead of the sixth round of the LV= County Championship.
Durham v Somerset at Chester-le-Street
Mark Stoneman and Gordon Muchall are in direct competition to replace the injured Ben Stokes (back) in Durham’s batting line-up and have both been named in a 13-man squad. There are still no places for Steve Harmison or Liam Plunkett with the likes of Ruel Brathwaite and Callum Thorp preferred to the former England duo. Meanwhile, Somerset have revealed that they are down to 11 fit players after Jos Buttler split the webbing on his hand to add to a list of invalids that includes captain Marcus Trescothick, Steve Kirby, Gemaal Hussain, Adam Dibble and Jamie Overton. They have also lost in-form batsman Nick Compton to the England Lions and have named Max Waller, Alex Barrow and Craig Overton in their side.
Nottinghamshire v Middlesex at Trent Bridge
The Outlaws have also lost players to the England Lions’ match against the West Indians with James Taylor and Samit Patel both ruled out, although they do still have Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad available. Karl Turner and Steven Mullaney have both been included in a 14-man squad, while Riki Wessels will return from injury. The visitors also have both their England regulars available with Steven Finn and Andrew Strauss looking for more practice ahead of the first Test of the summer at Lord’s later this month. Corey Collymore has replaced Toby Roland-Jones, who has a foot injury, in the 12-man squad.
Worcestershire v Surrey at New Road
The floodwaters have receded faster than expected at Worcester, meaning that this match, which had been moved to Kidderminster, is back at New Road. Kevin Pietersen will make what is likely to be his first and only Championship appearance of the summer for Surrey after returning from the IPL. The Brown Caps will be without Lions duo Stuart Meaker and Jade Dernbach, with George Edwards called into a 13-man squad.
Sussex v Lancashire at Hove
Tom Smith (hamstring) and Simon Kerrigan (England Lions) are both unavailable for the defending champions, who have been boosted by the inclusion of new signing Ajmal Shahzad (see County News In Brief) in a 13-man squad. Stephen Parry and Sajid Mahmood are also included.
Essex v Kent at Chelmsford
The home side are virtually unchanged from the side that faced Glamorgan, but have added Adam Wheater, who missed that match due to sickness, to a 12-man squad. Kent are without the services of in-form all-rounder Matt Coles, who is with the England Lions, and have named the Academy duo of Fabian Cowdrey and Ivan Thomas in a 12-man squad.
Gloucestershire v Yorkshire at Bristol
James Fuller and David Payne are ruled out due to injury for the home side, with players such as Graeme McCarter, David Wade and Paul Muchall the beneficiaries. Top-order batsman Dan Housego is also still out due to injury. For Yorkshire, Adam Lyth and Gerard Brophy have replaced the England Lions duo of Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root.
Hampshire v Derbyshire at The Ageas Bowl
Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams returns to lead the side after missing recent matches for personal reasons and he will take the place of England Lion Michael Carberry at the top of the order. Seamers Kabir Ali and James Tomlinson have replaced David Griffiths and Hamza Riazuddin in the 12-man squad. The visitors have added Mark Footitt to the eleven that drew with Gloucestershire last week.
Leicestershire v Northamptonshire at Grace Road
The Foxes have been strengthened by the return to fitness of the influential pairing of Nathan Buck and Matthew Hoggard, although they are without Will Jefferson and Jigar Naik. Loan signing Richie Berrington is also named in a 14-man squad. Seam bowler Sam Sweeney comes into the Northamptonshire side courtesy of Jack Brook’s England Lions call-up, with Chaminda Vaas making a return after being rested for the last four-day fixture.
Weather Forecast: The forecast for tomorrow is not great, with showers expected in the morning and this turning to heavier and more persistent rain in the afternoon. Prospects for Thursday also appear bleak at this stage, but Friday and Saturday are expected to be mostly dry. Tomorrow will be slightly milder than of late, however, with highs of between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius.
County News In Brief:
Lancashire have strengthened their bowling attack by signing disgruntled Yorkshire fast-bowler Ajmal Shahzad on loan until the end of the season. Shahzad had also attracted interest from Somerset, Sussex and Surrey among others.
In a bizarre move, Australian fast-bowler Mitchell Starc, who was due to link up with Yorkshire as their overseas player, has been deported from the UK following a visa error. He will now return to Australia and re-enter England, hopefully with this time with the correct paperwork.
© Cricket World 2012