ten Doeschate returns for Essex

ESSEX play their last LV=County Championship match before embarking on the hectic schedule of Twenty20 fixtures when they face Gloucestershire at Bristol starting tomorrow.

James Foster’s men are looking for the win that would keep them in touch with the promotion pursuers in Division Two as they reach the half-way point of the season in the competition.

The county welcome back Ryan ten Doeschate after his engagements in the Indian Premier League and the Netherlands all-rounder will make his first appearance of the season for the county.

Owais Shah made his Essex championship bow in the match against his former county Middlesex and it almost proved to be a fairytale start with the England batsman failing by just four runs to record a century in his first visit to the crease in an four-day game for Essex although he did register a duck in the second knock.

“It would have been amazing to have got the hundred against them and it would have been a dream come true but I got out to a decent delivery so I can’t feel too bad about it,” he said.

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“Joining Essex has started a new chapter in my cricket life and obviously, I’m here to score a lot of runs for the team and to try and help them win trophies.”

The 32-year-old has not given up hope of adding to his six England Test caps.

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“My main focus is playing my part to bring success to Essex and the more successful the team become, the more chances you get to play in finals and televised matches and people notice you.

“It’s amazing how things like that can work in your favour and if I can keep scoring lots of runs who knows what could happen?”

The stylish batsman was surprisingly released by Middlesex at the end of last season after spending 16 years with the club and he admitted that, although there were a number of offers on the table from other counties, a move to Chelmsford was always his preferred option.

“I know Essex want success as much as I want success and so it was an easy option really,” he stated. “Plus I’m very much a London person, I wanted to stay down south and so all the move ticked all the boxes and everything fell into place.

“It’s a new challenge and although I don’t have to prove myself, I do have to prove to myself that can raise my performance and continue to be consistent and win some trophies.”

Gloucestershire have won two and drawn two of their opening six Championship matches, but they have a doubt over all-rounder Will Gidman who is currently heading their batting averages with 531 runs to his name in the championship this season.

He damaged a finger when playing against Nottinghamshire in a CB40 match on Thursday and a decision regarding his fitness will be made shortly before the start of the game.

The squads

Gloucestershire (from): A Gidman (capt), I Cockbain, R Coughtrie, K Williamson, C Taylor, H Marshall, W Gidman, J Batty (wkt), E Young, J Lewis, D Payne, I Saxelby, L Norwell, V Bennerjee.

Essex (from): J Foster (capt/wkt), M Pettini, J Mickleburgh, O Shah, R Bopara, M Walker, A Wheater, R ten Doeschate, T Phillips, D Masters, C Wright, R Topley, M Chambers.

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