Sunday, 19 June 2011

Preview: Gloucestershire v Surrey, County Championship

Proper cricket returns to give us a much needed rest from the abject performances we have been witnessing in the T20 over the last few weeks. Surrey currently lie 4th in the table on 81 points, Gloucestershire are 5th on 78 points. It is another game that will go along way to define our season. Win, and we are still challenging at the top of the table. Lose, and the scrap for the wooden spoon will start.

Hamish Marshall returns to the championship side after injury and weddings kept him sidelined for much of the first half of the campaign. He comes into the team at the expense of Ian Cockbain, according to the squad announced on the Glos cricket website. This would seem a little bit harsh on young Cockbain. We presume that Chris Dent will therefore open with O'Mish. We're not entirely convinced by this decision. O'Mish definitely isn't an opener, and the Jessop Tavern View suspects that Dent would be better served batting at 6 and cementing himself in the side with a few hundreds before moving up the order.

Dick Coughtrie will be given the opportunity to cast Jon Batty to the sidelines, by continuing his encouraging showings with the gloves during the T20. We hope that common sense will mean Coughtrie bats in the lower middle order and is not pressed to open. A top score of 45 in 14 first class matches suggests this is more his natural position.

Kaiser Bracewell has stated that he is concerned that the Kia Oval will turn later in the game and this explains why both Ed Young and Jack Taylor are included as the spin options. No Vikram Banerjee then. Everyone do a little dance. Payne, Saxelby, the better Gidders and Sperm donor make up the seam choices.

This squad selection shows really encouraging signs that common sense has at last arrived at Gloucestershire. Batty has struggled for a year and a half and we have a young and apparently competent alternative in Coughtrie. Banerjee has barely troubled anyone since his arrival in Bristol. Ed Young shows plenty of potential. Lets hope that these kids are now given the rest of the season to develop properly.

Surrey will present a good challenge to the youngsters. To look at the Surrey squad for today, even minus the England players, is to wonder how they are mid table in division 2. Yet crap cricket and strange decisions are things that Surrey have done almost as well as Gloucestershire in recent years.

Lets just hope that the boys can tune back in to 4 day cricket quickly. A good away result at this point in the season would be a great way to set up the second half of the season.

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