Cricket Returns In Essex

Essex begin their domestic pre-season friendly programme when they face Surrey on Thursday and Friday (April 5 and 6) at The Ford County Ground, Chelmsford. The provisional format comprises of 50-overs-per-side games on each day with play starting at 11.00am on Thursday and 10.30am on Friday (please note: format and start times are subject to change as these games are designed to provide match practice for the players ahead of the season). Essex Team News Essex have named a 14-man squad for the games: Alastair Cook Ronnie Irani Mark Pettini Andy Flower James Foster Grant Flower Ryan ten Doeschate James Middlebrook Alex Tudor Maurice Chambers Jahid Ahmed Varun Chopra Tom Westley Mervyn Westfield The following players are unavailable through injury: Darren Thomas (shoulder), Graham Napier (elbow), Tony Palladino (virus and abdominal tear), Tim Phillips (shoulder and wisdom teeth removal) Ravinder Bopara (England) and Andre Nel (South Africa) are both with their respective nations at the World Cup while Danish Kaneria’s arrival date from Pakistan is still to be confirmed. Player’s View Essex Captain Ronnie Irani told the Essex CCC website ( “Surrey were by far the best team in four-day cricket we came up against last year, although we enjoyed success against them in Twenty20 cricket, so we are looking forward to coming up against one of the best teams in the country. It’s a bit early yet but it’s good to test ourselves against tough opposition.” Essex fast bowler Alex Tudor, formerly of Surrey, told the Essex CCC website: “When the fixtures came out I saw we had a couple of one-day games against Surrey and it will be good to see the guys again. We shaped up really well in Dubai (on the pre-season tour) and everyone looked pretty good. Surrey are arguably one of the strongest four-day sides in the country and it will be a good test for us to see where we are at this moment. Everything is gearing up for our first Championship game on the 18th against Derbyshire but this will give us a good pointer to see where we are at this stage.” Opposition Surrey have named the following 14-man squad for their trip to Chelmsford: Mark Butcher Jonathan Batty James Benning Ali Brown Mark Ramprakash Azhar Mahmood Rikki Clarke Chris Schofield Neil Saker Nayan Doshi Mohammad Akram Jade Dernbach Scott Newman Stewart Walters