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Essex boosted by Alastair Cook's return as they travel to Lancashire

PUBLISHED: 12:31 08 June 2018 | UPDATED: 12:32 08 June 2018

Alastair Cook will be back in action for Essex this weekend. Picture: PA SPORT

Alastair Cook will be back in action for Essex this weekend. Picture: PA SPORT

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Having secured a home tie in the quarter-finals of the Royal London Cup by beating Kent Spitfires emphatically on Wednesday, Essex turn their attentions back to the red ball when they travel to Old Trafford to face Lancashire tomorrow.

The County Championship clash sees the visitors boosted by the inclusion of England opener Alastair Cook.

Having completed a two-match series with Pakistan, England do not face another Test match until 1 August and Cook has been made available to play for his county in all formats in the interim period.

“We are always delighted when we have Cookie around, everyone knows the quality of the guy and what he brings to the team both on and off the field with his ability and experience,” Essex head coach Anthony McGrath enthused.

“He loves playing for Essex and it’s great that he’s back with us.”

The return of the England left-hander is timely as regular Championship opener Nick Browne is still sidelined with a broken finger.

McGrath does not believe the switch from the limited overs to four-day format should affect his side.

“Our batsmen have been in really good form in the One-Day Cup and we are hoping that they can transfer that into the red ball stuff,” he said. “There’s no reason why not, I know the balls do behave differently but we are looking for the momentum we’ve got with the bat to continue into the four-day game.

“We are expecting another tough encounter, Lancashire are a good side but when we do realise our full potential, we’ll prove ourselves a very good team as we did last season.

“We have only collected three batting points this season and although I appreciate it was tough early on, that was the same for all teams. I have to say that in Championship cricket, we haven’t batted as well as we can and it would be good to rack up some big first innings scores and get the bonus points.

“I think that with our bowling attack, providing we can get the scores on the board of say of 400 or 450, then we are always going to have a chance of winning matches with the bowlers we have.

“Overall, I’m reasonably satisfied with our Championship form.”

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