Wheater a doubt for Essex

ADAM Wheater is a doubt for Essex who travel to the Kia Oval this evening to face Surrey in a FriendsLife twenty20 match starting at 6.40pm.

Essex have named the same 13-man squad, including Wheather, that has been on duty for the previous four matches in this year’s competition.

The 21-year-old suffered a badly bruised hand when practising in the nets ahead of the match with Sri Lanka, which he had to sit out, and progress on his recovery will be monitored leading up to the match.

Essex first-team coach Paul Grayson admits that this could be a vital week for the county.

“We’ve got a massive three games this week in twenty20 and by the end of the week, we’ll have an idea how good we are,” he said.

“Two wins from the three games would be good and to win all three would be brilliant. That’s what we’ll be trying to achieve, of course, but they are three tough games starting with Surrey who have just come off the back of a loss on Saturday.

“We’ve got a good record against them in t20 having won nine out of ten games and we have a good record at the Oval so let’s hope that continues.

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“The statistics show that we have something over them in one-day cricket but that doesn’t guarantee you victory the next time. So we need to play well and to our potential and hopefully, that will keep our good run going against them.”

All-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate, a key member of the Essex squad, has already experienced a lot of t20 cricket this year having recently returned from involvement with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League and warmed up for tonight’s game with a sparkling century against Sri Lanka on Saturday during the county’s first-class friendly with Sri Lanka.

The Netherlands all-rounder hit 164, his highest first-class score for Essex, and now he is hoping to carry that rich vein of form into this week’s three twenty20 matches starting with the game at The Oval.

“Yes it would be nice to score some big runs in the twenty20 but the main thing is that it contributes towards the team winning,” he said.

“We haven’t played particularly well yet but we’ve assessed ourselves and frankly we’ve been pretty poor at the top of the order both with the bat and the ball.

“There are so many good players in our batting line-up if the bowling unit can just hold things together then we will give ourselves a chance to win games such as we did against Middlesex at Lord’s last week.

“We’ve got three games this week spaced two days apart and it would be a good time to target the three wins to really kick-start our twenty20 season.

“There are not too many weak sides kicking around particularly in our division, clubs have gone full out to bring in quality overseas players and it’s going to be a very hard group to finish in the top two to guarantee a home draw.”

Surrey squad: R Hamilton-Brown (capt), S Davies (wkt), Z de Bruyn, T Maynard, J Roy, C Schofield, G Batty, J Dernbach, D Nannes, Y Arafat, M Sprigel, T Linley.

Essex squad: M Pettini, R Bopara, O Shah, M Walker, R ten Doeschate, S Styris, J Foster (capt/wkt), G Napier, T Phillips, T Southee, C Wright, D Masters, A Wheater.

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