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Posts Tagged ‘jeetan patel’

  • Durham surprised a lot of people with their Championship win last year, and with Steve Harmison out of favour with England once again, their bowling attack looks just as strong as it was in 2008. Ian Blackwell has come in to bolster the middle order and add a spin option, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul returns in June following the World Twenty20.
  • Hampshire arguably owe last year’s survival, let alone their eventual third place, to the spin bowling of Imran Tahir, who returns from June. In the meantime, Australian Marcus North comes in as an overseas player to add runs, and Dominic Cork also arrives following his release by Lancashire. Chris Tremlett will also be key for the attack, whilst Mascarenhas’ England and IPL commitments will drain the Rose Bowl’s resources for much of the season.
  • Lancashire have released Dominic Cork and Stuart Law, whilst Andrew Flintoff and James Anderson are likely to make very few appearances for their county, so the Red Rose lineup will be somewhat unfamiliar in places. Mark Chilton and Francois Du Plessis need to improve on last year’s performances with the bat, or relegation may threaten to make Peter Moores’ 2009 even worse.
  • Nottinghamshire may spend the majority of the season watching their three best bowlers ply their trade for England, so the likes of Shreck and Pattinson will be key. If Samit Patel gets fit enough to be called up as well, the side could look a little thin in the middle order, but if newlywed Adam Voges can translate his limited-overs form to the four-day game then the prospect of a title challenge isn’t too far-fetched to consider.
  • Somerset continue to have an incredibly strong top order (especially with and Marcus Trescothick as an opening pair), but with Ian Blackwell moving to Durham and Andy Caddick into his 40s, the bowling attack looks worryingly thin. Unless a young gun steps up to take wickets, a proliferation of draws may ensue.
  • Warwickshire face the step up from Division Two without Ian Salisbury, but Jeetan Patel should be a strong addition to their four-day side. If Ian Bell stays out of the England team long enough to feature regularly, then the Bears can reap the benefits. Similarly, Tim Ambrose will be a force in the County game even he doesn’t cut it at Test level.
  • Worcestershire enter the post-Hick era in 2009, which puts a lot of pressure on Vikram Solanki and the likes of Stephen Moore. Gareth Batty’s recent England call-up underlined his quality with the ball, but the pace attack is relatively weak, especially given Simon Jones’ continuing injury problems. If Solanki and Kabir Ali find form, then the side can look for more than just consolidation in their return to Division One.
  • Yorkshire came uncomfortably close to relegation last year, but players of the quality of Michael Vaughan, Anthony McGrath, Matthew Hoggard and Adil Rashid should see them improve in 2009 (assuming England call-ups don’t intervene). A championship challenge may be asking too much, and adjusting to life without Darren Gough will be difficult, but there is enough class (especially with Jacques Rudolph in the side) for a top-half finish.
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New Zealand and the West Indies go into their two-Test series both looking for a boost, but with radically different recent histories.

For the Black Caps, a struggle to overcome Bangladesh was followed by failure against a vulnerable Australia, and the selectors’ dissatisfaction with the latter is evident from the changes that have been made to the Test side for this series. Out have gone Aaron Redmond, Chris Martin, Grant Elliott, Tim Southee, Peter Fulton; in have come Jacob Oram, James Franklin, Mark Gillespie, Tim McIntosh and Jeetan Patel.

The West Indies, or at least some of them, come in to the series radically richer than they were a few weeks ago following the Stanford Super Series. What effect this will have on the team dynamic, and on the relative importance afforded to Test cricket as opposed to Twenty20, remains to be seen.

The fact that the home side have recently slipped behind the tourists in the ICC Test rankings has not been lost on either side, and this factor promises to increase the pressure on both sides. Recent history between these sides suggests that New Zealand are favourites, but the Windies will fancy their chances, and this should be a close (and, I hope, entertaining) series.

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New Zealand’s selectors, following the 2-0 series defeat to Australia, have made wholesale changes to their Test side for the home series against the West Indies.

Out go (amongst others) Chris Martin, , Aaron Redmond and ‘two-metre’ Peter Fulton; in come Tim McIntosh, Jeetan Patel, James Franklin and Jacob Oram.

The Black Caps badly need some sucess against the Windies, with the tourists having recently overtaken their hosts in the ICC Test rankings. With John Bracewell‘s replacement by Andy Moles as coach, there’s an opportunity for Vettori‘s men to make the sort of progress in Test cricket that has so far eluded them.

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The big news from the England camp, as previously mentioned, is that Harmison and Hoggard have been dropped. This has provoked widespread acceptance that Harmison is not what he used to be in the bowling department, but also consternation and even anger at the decision to drop Hoggard.

New Zealand have also decided to mix it up in the bowling department, with Jeetan Patel (who was impressive in the first game) making way for Mark Gillespie. Ironically for Hoggard (who must be crestfallen), this is because the conditions will apparently be well-suited to seam bowling.

I hope that England can at least show that they are capable of winning Test matches, but I’m not even sure they are at the moment.

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