The ‘cupboard is really full’ as Essex look to make a fast start
- Credit: PA
New club captain Ryan ten Doeschate has backed the club’s new-look bowling attack to produce after proclaiming ‘the cupboard is really full’ at Essex.
The Chelmsford-based club begin their season tomorrow with a home County Championship Division Two clash with Gloucestershire, knowing a fast start is needed given there is just one promotion place available this season.
While England’s Reece Topley has departed for Hampshire, Aussie Matt Dixon and New Zealander Matt Quinn have joined the club and, with a good stock of young bowlers to accompany veterans Graham Napier and David Masters, ten Doeschate believes Essex have plenty of strength in depth.
“We’ve recruited really well, Matt Dixon has bowled really well in the pre-season games and looks a real prospect,” ten Doeschate said.
“We’ve got some really good young players coming through too. Jamie Porter’s only had one full season and he’s a local boy, while Aaron Beard is going to be a very exciting prospect for the future.
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“Matt Quinn and Ashar Zaidi are going to be big players for us too, but it’s going to take a group effort from the bowling unit.
“We feel we have eight or nine bowlers we feel can play in the Championship side. Depth is crucial in four-day cricket and for once we feel as if the cupboard is really full.
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“Things are going to be tough, with just one promotion spot now making things that bit tougher, but it’s something we’re planning for.
“You need to be on your guard for each and every session because, if you’re not, you can throw away your chance just by having a bad day in the office.
“The team that can be the most consistent will be rewarded.”
Dutch international ten Doeschate takes over from James Foster as captain at the County Ground, having previously led the limited overs side, and has settled quickly into his new role.
He said: “The winter was a little quieter for me in terms of the amount of cricket I’ve played, since the appointment as captain, which has meant I’ve been heavily involved in things off the pitch.
“I don’t feel too different, the challenge is pretty much the same, but it’s slightly different being club captain because it means more responsibility away from the cricket decisions which I’m enjoying.
“I’m enjoying working with the players and on the structure of things with Silvers (Chris Silverwood) and Ronnie (Irani), and hopefully we can do some good things and get that all out on the field.
A major plus for Essex is the availability of England captain Alastair Cook for their first four games, with ten Doeschate insisting he is as good an influence off the pitch as he is on it.
“Apart from how good a four day cricketer he is, he is an unbelievable bloke,” he said.
“He comes round the group and there have been so many young guys who have been like ‘jeez, Alistair Cook, what a bloke’.
“I’ve known that having been around him here for 13 years, but he lifts the team up and also contributes heavily too.”