Tuesday 15 April 2008 

Essex Name 14-Man Squad For Northants Opener

Essex have named a 14-man squad for their County Championship opener against Northamptonshire at Chelmsford.

Ravi Bopara and James Foster return to the Essex ranks after playing for the MCC last week with reserve wicket-keeper Adam Wheater making way.

Andre Nel has been made available by the Nashua Titans, meaning he will make an earlier than planned start to his third spell with Essex. He will be with the side until May, when Danish Kaneria will take over.

Essex had a full squad to choose from with no injury concerns apart from Alastair Cook, who is rested by the ECB following his commitments in New Zealand and Sri Lanka in the winter.

Essex first-team coach Paul Grayson commented, “It is always important to get off to a good start as it is generally the teams who start well who finish at the top. We don’t want to be playing catch-up from an early stage so we need to be picking up our batting and bowling points from the off. We are likely to be playing on some result pitches in the first few weeks of the season so the opportunity is there to get some early victories under our belt – that’s what we intend to do.”

Essex (from): Varun Chopra, Jason Gallian, Ravi Bopara, Tom Westley, Mark Pettini (c), Ryan Ten Doeschate, James Foster (wk), James Middlebrook, Tim Phillips, Alex Tudor, David Masters, Andre Nel, Chris Wright, Graham Napier