MATCH PREVIEW | Essex v Hampshire

Loz 

Having progressed to the semi-finals of the Royal London One-Day Cup with a highly impressive record of 7 wins from eight matches, Essex resume red-ball cricket when they entertain Hampshire in a Specsavers County Championship fixture starting at The Cloudfm County Ground tomorrow.

Essex have named a 14-man squad and Head Coach Chris Silverwood admits that the successful Royal London Cup campaign has put them in good heart.

“I’m delighted with the way the guys have played in both forms of the game and the way we have performed in the 50-over format gives us a lot of confidence now we are reverting to the Championship game,” he said.

“To win 7 out of eight games in white ball cricket that earned a home semi-final in the Royal London One-Day Cup was a fantastic achievement and every credit to all the boys for achieving that.

“But we do have to put thoughts of the 50-over game to the back of our minds because we now have three very important and difficult Championship matches coming up in the next three weeks starting with Hampshire on Friday followed by back-to-back clashes with Surrey who are top of the table at the moment.

“Yes, there is a lot of self-belief throughout the squad but we need to be at our best throughout these three matches. Division One cricket can be a very unforgiving game if you let your standards slip even for one session and all the players are very aware of that.

“One very satisfying aspect of our season overall has been the number of players who have stepped up with influential performances just when we’ve needed them but we are still very much a work in progress and there is a lot more to come from us.”

Both Essex and Hampshire have so far played 3 Championship matches and both have won one and drawn 2 games but a superior tally of bonus points (6 batting and 8 bowling) has taken the visitors into third place in Division One with 40 points and just five behind early leaders Surrey.

Essex occupy fifth place and have five points fewer than Hampshire having accrued 2 batting points and 7 bowling points.

Hampshire have only managed to claim two victories in their last 12 visits to Chelmsford losing 5 of those matches whilst there has been only one drawn fixture across the last 10 meetings between these sides; five wins for Essex and four going Hampshire’s way.

Both teams come into the match in a good vein of Championship form having suffered only one defeat each from their last nine matches; Essex have won 4 and drawn 4 whilst the South Coast county have won 2 and drawn 6 matches.

Essex squad:
Varun Chopra (6)
James Foster (7)
Nick Browne (10)
Simon Harmer (11)
Neil Wagner (13)
Tom Westley (21)
Paul Walter (22)
Ravi Bopara (25)
Alastair Cook (26)
Ryan ten Doeschate (27) Captain
Dan Lawrence (28)
Adam Wheater (31)
Jamie Porter (44)
Matt Quinn (94)