Essex should be feared in Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final, says Graham Napier
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Essex should be the team to be feared in the Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final, according to former star, Graham Napier.
Chris Silverwood’s side have set up a last-four home tie with either Nottinghamshire or Somerset, on June 16, after producing some scintillating cricket, winning seven of their eight games to top the South group.
Napier, who is now Director of the Graham Napier Cricket Academy at Royal Hospital School, after ending his 26-year association with Essex last year, said: “Over the years Essex have always been considered as a team that you would want to avoid getting drawn against in a semi-final.
“On current form, they are certainly to be feared by the other teams.”
Essex have been prolific at both ends in the competition, with the bowlers sharing the wickets around and former England skipper Alastair Cook in excellent form with the bat.
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“A lot of the focus will go to Alastair Cook and his form shows the hunger for the game, even though he is not England captain any more, and that’s good for his county and country,” Napier added.
“From a bowling perspective, Jamie Porter has taken a leading role with the ball and has had a really good start to the season.”
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As well as their One-Day Cup exploits, Essex have also made a solid start to life back in Division One, following promotion last season, and are mid-table just 10 points off the top.
“To get off to a start like they have after winning promotion, what they set out to do in pre-season, I think will have gone to plan,” Napier explained.
“They surprised Somerset, who have been a well-established Division One team, won there, and have made a solid start.
“From now on in, the key is for Essex to keep their discipline as they will be looking to push themselves in all three competitions (the other competition being the T20 Blast). They will need to suppress their energy and keep their standards high in all formats as they can’t just concentrate on one area.
Napier, who broke the T20 record when he scored 152 not out from 58 balls, against Sussex, in 2008, was a one-day expert but also excelled in the four-day game. He said: “I don’t miss the physical aspect of playing, not being able to move for a couple of days after a game, but being in that team environment with everyone is always something you will miss.”