Essex hoping for change in weather

ESSEX have named a 12-man squad for the LV=County Championship match with Kent, starting at Canterbury tomorrow.

Leg-spinner Tom Craddock is added to the side that were on duty in the rain-affected drawn match with Leicestershire last week and head coach Paul Grayson is hoping that the weather gods are kinder over the next few days.

“I haven’t given up hope of being involved in the promotion issue and neither have the players,” he said. “But all we can ask for first of all is that the match at Canterbury is allowed to proceed without interruption from the weather for the four days.

“Then whoever plays the best cricket deserves the victory,” he said.

“We have been badly affected by the weather and also the timing of when the weather has interrupted our matches. If the first day gets washed out but you play over the next three days, then there is always the chance that you can get a game and force a result but we’ve had matches that have been washed out on the fourth day and has completely ruined any prospect of a result.

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“I know that I keep saying back-to-back wins can make a significant difference to the league table and that remains true but obviously we need to start winning these cricket matches.

“I believe that there are some promising signs within the squad, a lot of the guys are playing well and showing some good confidence. Two of our younger lads, Jaik Mickleburgh and Tom Westley, played really well against Leicestershire last week with a hundred each and there were some good contributions from elsewhere.

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“Mark (Pettini) has been very consistent this year and Ryan (ten Doeschate) has come into some good form, Adam Wheater and Fozzy (James Foster) are playing well. I was really pleased with how Maurice Chambers bowled last week, he came back really well, Dave Masters was excellent, so overall, everyone seems to be in quite a good place at the moment.

“Sometimes you might have four or five players struggling a little with confidence but confidence is very high in our dressing room. It’s just a matter of getting ourselves into positions where we can force the game. We have five matches left in the Championship and we are looking to finish the season on a real high.

“Everyone on the staff is fit so that bodes well for the run-in to the season and we have a strong second team out this week. Let’s hope we can keep everyone fit and in some decent form over the next six weeks and also hope the weather stays kind to us.”

Essex squad: J Foster (capt/wkt), J Mickleburgh, T Westley, O Shah, M Pettini, R ten Doeschate, A Wheater, G Napier, Harbhajan Singh, D Masters, M Chambers, T Craddock.

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