Alastair Cook returns for Essex at Glamorgan
ALASTAIR Cook is set to make his first appearance of the domestic season when he appears for Essex in their LV= County Championship match with Glamorgan in Cardiff starting on Wednesday.
The England left-hander has been made available to the County by the ECB for three further matches, the LV= County Championship fixture with Kent at The Ford County Ground (May 9-12) and the two opening Clydesdale Bank 40 matches of the campaign against Leicestershire Foxes at Grace Road next Monday and Worcestershire Royals at Chelmsford on Sunday, May 13.
Essex will select from a squad of 13 for the visit to the Principality with Cook and leg-spinner Tom Craddock joining the side that was on duty for the rain-ruined affair with Northamptonshire.
Only 27 overs were possible in the four days but head coach Paul Grayson remained philosophical.
“It happens at this time of the year,” he said. “The ECB have scheduled an earlier start to the season in the past few years and up until now, we’ve generally been fortunate with the weather. I suppose the only consolation is that the rain affected every match up and down the country but we are now looking to make up for lost time.
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“It’s obviously a boost to have Cookie with us for the next couple of weeks and hopefully the weather will relent to allow us to play our cricket.”
Cook is set to open the innings at the SWALEC Stadium with Alviro Petersen who is likely to be in direct opposition when England face South Africa later in the summer. For Petersen, the trip offers a return to the county whom he captained last season and for whom he took a century off the Essex attack in the Championship fixture when the teams met last August.
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“There’s no baggage and I’m going there now as an Essex player and looking forward to performing against Glamorgan at the SWALEC Stadium,” he said.
“I’ve got a lot of friends there and I want to do well. It’s important that I stay focused on what I want to achieve out of the game and if there’s any extra substance to the game, then I use it to my benefit.
“It’s going to be a massive challenge mentally, technically and physically I suppose but it’s a game that I’m looking forward to.
“It would be nice to score a hundred but it’s a hard craft in terms of doing that so hopefully, I’ll get a bit of luck, get in and once I’m in, then try and be an anchor for the Essex team and I look forward to making a big contribution.”
Essex drew their match last year down in Cardiff where the headline making performances for the visitors were provided by Owais Shah who scored 118 and Adam Wheater who made 92 not out. Tom Craddock took four for 89 in the hosts first innings before David Masters followed-up with four for 62 when the Welsh county batted again.
Overall, Essex have won 42 of the 128 Championship matches contested between the teams whilst 25 matches have been lost. One match was tied and another abandoned.
Essex squad: James Foster (capt, wkt), Alastair Cook, Alviro Petersen, Billy Godleman, Mark Pettini, Tom Westley, Ravi Bopara, Adam Wheater, Greg Smith, David Masters, Charl Willoughby, Tymal Mills, Tom Craddock.