Zaidi wants to bat higher up the order as Essex look to see off Somerset

Ashar Zaidi has offered to bat higher up the order for Essex. Picture: ARCHANT

Ashar Zaidi has offered to bat higher up the order for Essex. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Su Anderson

In-form batsman Ashar Zaidi has stuck his hand up and offered to move up the order to help kick-start Essex’s stuttering Royal London Cup campaign ahead of a run of three successive home games, writes Martin Smith.

Essex have lost two of their three 50-over games on the road so far, despite Zaidi coming in at No7 and contributing 139 runs this week with a top-score 82 at Gloucestershire and an unbeaten 57 against Hampshire.

One win from those three matches leaves Essex slightly off the pace in the South section and looking to make the their residency at Chelmsford, starting with the day-night game against Somerset today (2pm), and continuing against Surrey on Sunday and Glamorgan on Wednesday (both 11am).

And Zaidi reckons his promotion in the batting line-up could do the trick. “I would love to bat up the order,” he says, “and go in at No4. I feel I’m in good form and the higher I go up the order, the more overs, the more time I’m given to bat, the better.

“The strike-rate I go at gives me a big chance to get a big score.”

The 36-year-old Pakistan all-rounder has spoken to captain Ryan ten Doeschate and head coach Anthony McGrath about the possibility. “Yes, we’ve been in touch, we’ve been in talks,” he says. “Everything is discussed, team plans, everything.

“As we’ve been doing in T20 cricket, when the coach and the captain feel it is favourable for me going up the order, then generally I’ve been in within the first six or seven overs.

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“So I’m sure when they feel the opportunity is there, they will make sure I get that opportunity.”

Zaidi added: “What we are missing at the moment is one guy to go on and score a big hundred.

“As we saw in the first game against Middlesex, Tom Westley got a hundred and everyone played around him and it was a very easy chase.

“In the last two games that’s not been the case. I think one of our top five or six need to stand up and score that hundred.”

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