Two-day friendly for Essex

Cricket: Essex entertain Worcestershire in a two-day friendly match at Chelmsford starting today with play scheduled to commence at 11am on both days.

Having warmed up for the 2010 season in Barbados with an impressive 85-run win over Lancashire in the final of the English Counties Pro-40 Championship, the squad will now continue their preparations for the 2010 season in colder and damper climes.

“The lads worked really hard out in Barbados and it was a very pleasing trip,” said coach Paul Grayson. “We got better as the trip progressed which was good and all the lads got the opportunity to show what they could do. Confidence and spirit is excellent in the camp and we are looking forward to a strong start to the season.”

The only injury worry ahead of the match is a slight rib problem for Tony Palladino although he is expected to be fit by the weekend. However, the hosts will be missing a number of players. Ravi Bopara and Graham Napier are both involved in the IPL, whilst wicket-keeper James Foster is playing for the MCC against champion county Durham in Dubai. Alastair Cook is resting after successfully leading England in Bangladesh recently whilst Danish Kaneria will be returning in time for the opening championship match of the season against Hampshire at the Ford County Ground on April 9.

“We will be selecting our strongest available teams for the friendly matches with Worcestershire and then Bradford/Leeds UCCE (starting on Saturday) because we are taking both matches very seriously,” Grayson added.

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