Monday, 22 August 2011

A win needed to keep promotion hopes barely alive

After a week of CB40 games County Championship action resumes as Surrey take on Leicestershire at Grace Road and there's still the merest flicker of hope that we might be able to muscle in on the promotion action this year. If we are to do so, a win is an absolute must - and they'll likely have the weather to contend with to fashion that victory.

No official squad has yet been named but the likelihood is that the side will be very similar to that which faced Kent ten days ago:

De Bruyn

Jade Dernbach has been named in the England ODI squad to play in Ireland on the 25th so will be unavailable for selection, so Linley and Meaker, our two best Championship bowlers this year will be reunited in the attack. Depending on who else is named in the squad (and at Canterbury the 12th man was Jordan) Ansari and Batty look likely to be doing spinning duties. However given that Matt Dunn was not named in the Second XI squad to play Glamorgan tomorrow there's always a chance he could sneak in.

Much of the top order batting is in search of a score. Hamilton-Brown is without a fifty in all forms in a month, Davies' search for a big score continues and our form batsman of the season, Zander de Bruyn has a string of low scores to his name of late. Mark Ramprakash and Tom Maynard, despite a century apiece in their last three matches (coincidentally the same score - 141) have also had a bit of a lean run in recent matches, this game would be a good time for one or all of them to hit Championship form. I fear Jason Roy's good form may be wasted down at number six in the order and with Davies poor form Adams might consider switching them again.

Leicestershire are a strong bowling side without being exceptional. Naik and Henderson have 72 Championship wickets between them and while Hoggard isn't the threat he once was, he's still a fine bowler. Their batting is weakened somewhat by James Taylor's trip to Ireland but Will Jefferson and Matthew Boyce are capable.

If we win this match with a full quota of bonus points we could slot into third place and depending on other results, not a million miles behind Middlesex in second. However the weather forecast doesn't bode well for a result which would be frustrating. With that in mind they will probably look to go hard as far as possible in what cricket they do get, and who knows, we could yet salvage something.

Update: This preview, from the Telegraph, seems to suggest we are waiting on clearance from India to debut Pragyan Ojha. Goes without saying that a spinner of his quality would be more than welcome, watch this space!

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