Essex bid to start t20 campaign with a win
ESSEX Eagles turn their attentions to Friends Life t20 action for the next few weeks starting with a trip to the Kia Oval to face Surrey Lions tomorrow night for their opening match in this year’s competition.
Eagles head coach Paul Grayson has selected a 13-man squad for the match, start 6.30pm, and he is anxious to see his charges commence their South Group qualifying matches with a victory.
“One-day cricket is all about momentum and, obviously, we want to make a good start against Surrey Lions where we have a good record over the years,” he said.
“We know that the South Group is tough and there are some good cricketers in our section but I believe in our lads. We have some excellent players ourselves and if we get some good results early on in the competition, then I believe that there is every chance that we can qualify.
“Last year, we won seven and lost seven plus a couple of games were washed-out so we were inconsistent. Batting will be our strength this year in this format and so we’ve got to be very workmanlike in the way that we bowl. We’ve also got to be smart with our bowling changes and our spin options.
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“We feel that we are better prepared this year than we were last year when we came straight off a four-day game and went immediately into the Twenty20 campaign. This time, we’ve had some time to prepare and practise our skills and we are hoping for a big performance on Wednesday night.
“Then we’ve got three matches in as many night next week, so the games come thick and fast and if you do lose a game, you can’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself, you might have to play again the next night.”
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Essex will only have one overseas player for the competition despite intense efforts to sign another player to join James Franklin.
“We really tried to get a second overseas player in to join us but we have been let down by a couple of players,” Grayson explained.
“It’s proved a really difficult situation trying to bring someone else in but I’m happy with the squad we’ve got. I would have liked another one-day specialist bowler but we’ll live with that. It means that we’ve got to find a way to bowl well in the format and trust our batsmen to perform more consistently because last year, they didn’t do that.”
History favours for a winning start for the Eagles whose impressive record against Surrey in the FL t20 format includes victories in nine of the 13 matches with only two defeats while the other couple of games were abandoned.
Essex squad: J Foster, J Franklin, M Pettini, T Westley, G Smith, O Shah, R ten Doeschate, A Wheater, G Napier, T Phillips, D Masters, T Mills, M Chambers.