Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Ramprakash returns for crucial Sussex game

The emergency cry has gone out, Mark Ramprakash has answered. A month since he played his last First XI game for the club, Ramps returns to Adams' 13 man squad for the crunch match with Sussex at Horsham.

The squad and possible XI is as follows:

Steve Davies
Jason Roy
Mark Ramprakash
Zander de Bruyn
Rory Hamilton-Brown
Tom Maynard
Gareth Batty
Murali Kartik
Jon Lewis
Stuart Meaker
Jade Dernbach

12th men: Gary Wilson, Tim Linley

Where Ramprakash will bat is a matter for debate, there has been some talk that he will open the batting in Jacques Rudolph's absence. I've said before that I think Maynard should move up the order, so I would rather see him at the top, but I suspect Adams may elect to go with Roy. It really is anyone's guess at this stage though. Ramprakash has been given another chance to impress on the back of three fifties for his club side Stanmore, and the coach will hope he can play the anchor role. Gareth Batty at number seven makes for a very lengthy tail, so someone will have to bat long.

Gary Wilson is presumably in the squad as batting cover for Maynard, who was off the field for a long period in the Scottish innings today. He may have taken a blow on the finger when attempting a catch of Dernbach's bowling. Wilson for his part is in good form, scoring runs in recent Second XI Twenty20s, as well as two hundreds in recent Seconds Championship games.

Whether one of Lewis, Dernbach or Meaker is rested remains to be seen, but I suspect Linley will miss out again. Neither of the three front-line bowlers have bowled a great deal of overs in recent days thanks to the weather, and we need to win this game, so I think Adams will go with his preferred attack.

The big difference in this squad of course is the presence of Murali Kartik. Horsham has seen a lot of wickets for spinners in the last couple of seasons, Monty Panesar has 14 in his last two visits there, and Saeed Ajmal took 6-124 to bowl Worcestershire to victory there in 2011. An attack with three high quality seamers, an in-form all rounder in Batty and an attacking left arm spinner in Kartik is a mouth-watering prospect.

We know from the game at the Oval that Surrey and Sussex are pretty evenly matched.  Sussex though are a stronger outfit now than the one we faced then, they have Panesar back in the fold as well as their overseas player, Steve Magoffin. James Anyon and Amjad Khan, who took 11 wickets between them at the Oval, are also dangerous though its unlikely both will play tomorrow. Their batting wasn't great in the recent defeat to Middlesex but Wright and Nash scored runs in the game against Nottinghamshire. Murray Goodwin is having a season not dissimilar to Ramprakash, he has just 118 runs from 11 Championship innings.

Sussex are Chris Adams' Division One 'benchmark' side. They are just three points ahead of us in the table in sixth place so a win would be very welcome indeed. In reality it looks as though the weather will win out with rain forecast for most of the next four days. Another washed out draw is not what we need with Worcestershire just 11 points behind us, and a potentially dangerous Durham propping up the table. If there is much play, we should have a good chance of winning, our bowling is stronger for the addition of Kartik and if Ramprakash is in any kind of form our batting looks instantly more substantial. Fingers crossed the rain holds off just enough to get a good game in.

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