Essex name strong side to play at Fenner’s

Saj Mahmood, who sits out Essex's opening game against Cambridge MCCU, starting on Friday

Saj Mahmood, who sits out Essex's opening game against Cambridge MCCU, starting on Friday - Credit: Archant

THE 2013 domestic first-class cricket season starts on Friday and a strong Essex side make the short journey up the M11 to Fenner’s where they will face Cambridge MCCU in a three-day match.

Head coach Paul Grayson has selected a 12-man squad that includes overseas signing Bobby Quiney who will be experiencing his first taste of English conditions.

The 30 year-old left–hander, who plays for Victoria, only arrived in the UK on Tuesday and gets an immediate chance to acclimatise and experience early English conditions.

“We’ve picked the best side for tomorrow’s game and unfortunately, some players miss out,” Grayson acknowledged.

“We are really pleased with how Saj [Mahmood] and Reece [Topley] have bowled plus how Jaik [Mickleburgh] has been batting pre-season and they are all first-team players obviously.

“We want competition for places and we’ve got two very good bowlers and a batsman who are unlucky not to be playing tomorrow.

“They’ve missed out this time but if we are going to achieve things this year, it’s going to be with a decent squad but they’ll be pushing hard for places for the start of our Championship fixtures against Gloucestershire next week. It will keep everyone on their toes.

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“Playing at Fenner’s during this time of the season is always a good fixture to have. Our preparations have gone really well, we’ve had good practice, good grass nets and now, everyone is ready to get out in the middle and play a match and getting down to some good work out there.

“As a group, I’m happy that we are where we want to be at this stage.”

Play is scheduled to start at 11am on all three days.

Essex squad to face Cambridge MCCU: T Westley, R Quiney, B Foakes, R Bopara, M Pettini, J Foster (capt/wkt), G Smith, G Napier, D Masters, M Chambers, T Mills, T Craddock.

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