Nope, it isn't an injury, or at least I'm trusting in the official website saying that it isn't - rather he's been 'rested'. The bowler who has led our attack all summer and has been the only player who has consistently been able to keep opposition batsmen on a tight leash has been rested for a crucial game in the only tournament we have any hope of progressing in.
That seems a little odd to me. In Group A we are three points clear of Lancashire over whom we have two games in hand, and a single point behind Sussex over whom we have one game in hand. Should we win, we will go clear of Sussex and to within three points of Somerset - if they slip up in a couple of their remaining games we can still top the group, and yet our attack leader has been rested.
The squad is as follows - as ever with my starting XI preference:
On the bench: Chris Schofield, Steven Cheetham
Given the form of Spriegel and Walters in the most recent County Championship matches, that batting looks horribly weak so lets hope the top order have another of their 'on' days and the lower order aren't needed - at the top of the order Hamilton Brown and Davies average 47 and 72 respectively, with strike rates of 150 and 132. That said, Walters and Spriegel have impressed in the limited overs games so far so maybe they'll revert to that type.
The bowling always looks weaker sans-Tremlett, and there's no sign of Nel who has played just three of our CB40 matches this season. Meaker and Dernbach are either liable to have an unplayable day or a 'spray it about like a garden hose' day, lets hope its the former, when they click the pair of them are two of the most exciting young bowling talents in the country.
The opposition batting looks weak too but sides should underestimate the Unicorns at their peril. Although Durston is no longer in their side, Keith Parsons is an old hand and Michael O'Shea - who I've seen nothing of - is averaging 50+ with a very healthy strike rate. Their bowlers are similarly unknown to me apart from Surrey old boy Neil Saker, who is handy on his day without ever being a huge threat.
We ought to have enough about us to win this game even without Tremlett - I just don't like the message that leaving him out of the side sends. As Chris Adams says on the official website we are one of the top one day outfits in the country when we show up but the recent performances in the County Championship will have left many of the young players shot of confidence. Hopefully Hamilton-Brown can convince the team that the worst is behind them and that today some pride can be restored. That is of course assuming the weather doesn't intervene in a Surrey-Unicorns game for the second time this season.....
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