Counties prepare for life without their England players as round seven of the LV= County Championship gets underway tomorrow. We preview all seven of the matches below.
Surrey v Somerset at The Oval
The home side have done the unthinkable and dropped Mark Ramprakash from their 13-man squad following the third pair of his career at New Road last week. They also welcome back Jade Dernbach and Stuart Meaker from England Lions duty, although impressive seamer George Edwards retains his place in the squad.
Warwickshire v Lancashire at Edgbaston
The Bears have named their eleven for the match against the defending champions, with Chris Woakes making a welcome return to their Championship line-up. They will, of course, be without the England duo of Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott. Meanwhile, the visitors will again have to decide on their spin attack, with Gary Keedy and Simon Kerrigan both named in the 13-man squad. Tom Smith is still sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Worcestershire v Sussex at New Road
The Pears have been hit by an injury to their strike bowler, Alan Richardson, who is expected to be out for around a fortnight with a shoulder tear. They may yet be able to call-up all-rounder Gareth Andrew, who has been making a steady return to cricket following knee surgery over the winter. Sussex have made one enforced change to their squad with Ben Brown replacing Lord’s-bound Matt Prior behind the stumps.
Derbyshire v Glamorgan at Derby
The hosts have named an unchanged 13-man squad, although head coach Karl Krikken has indicated that Tony Palladino may be rested, with Mark Footitt a possible replacement. Marcus North and Simon Jones have both been included in Glamorgan’s 13-man squad as the Welsh side look to get their season back on track. Jim Allenby makes his return from a back strain, while Mike O’Shea covers for Stewart Walters, who is absent for personal reasons.
Kent v Northamptonshire at Canterbury
Matt Coles returns to Kent’s 12-man squad after missing the last match due to commitments with the England Lions. Ivan Thomas makes way following an impressive showing against Essex, while Chris Piesley is expected to be 12th man. For the Steelbacks, Jack Brooks and Con de Lange replace the injured pair of Chaminda Vaas (hip) and Alex Wakely (thigh) in a 12-man squad, which also includes youngster Christian Davis.
Leicestershire v Essex at Grace Road
The Foxes are boosted by the return of opening batsman Will Jefferson from injury – a move which sees Greg Smith drop down to number three at the expense of Kadeer Ali. Alex Wyatt has also been named in the 12-man squad, while Jigar Naik and Paul Dixey are still out injured. Ravi Bopara and Alastair Cook are both missing from Essex’s squad and have been replaced by Adam Wheater and Graham Napier, with leg-spinner Tom Craddock also included in the 12.
Yorkshire v Hampshire at Headingley
Yorkshire welcome back Joe Root from England Lions duty, with vice-captain Joe Sayers dropped from the 12-man squad, meaning that Adam Lyth retains his place. Azeem Rafiq and Iain Wardlaw have replaced the England pair of Tim Bresnan and Jonny Bairstow. Hampshire will be spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting their playing eleven and have named Bilal Shafayat, Michael Carberry, Kabir Ali, James Tomlinson and Danny Briggs in their 13-man squad. An audio interview with Hampshire coach Giles White is available here.
Weather Forecast: The forecast for tomorrow is one of sunshine with patchy cloud and highs of between 12 and 15 degrees Celsius. Thursday could see a return of some wet weather, especially for the north, while Friday and Saturday will be mostly cloudy with occasional showers.
County News In Brief:
Essex have said that they expect Ravi Bopara to be out for up to two weeks with his thigh injury, virtually ruling him out of contention for selection for the second Test against the West Indies at Trent Bridge.
Nottinghamshire coach Mick Newell has said that he would consider becoming the new coach of Bangladesh if he was approached about the role.
Ireland all-rounder John Mooney is to have a short trial with Sussex. He will play seven matches for their second eleven in the coming weeks.
Yorkshire CCC have sent their congratulations to Dickie Bird after the much-loved former umpire received his OBE from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace today.
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