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Posts Tagged ‘leicestershire’

Yorkshire’s decision to release Matthew Hoggard (if it was indeed their decision rather than his – reports so far tend to take one side or the other) is surprising, to say the least. He took more First-Class wickets than any other Yorkshire bowler (although admittedly he didn’t do too well in the shorter formats), and for such a long and distinguished spell with the county to come to such a rancorous end is sad and unexpected.

Leicestershire are already interested in signing up the most sheepdogesque of England’s 2005 Ashes winners, and no doubt there will be other counties who will be keeping an eye on developments as well, but for Hoggard to be playing for anyone other than Yorkshire just seems wrong, even through my own Red Rose-tinted spectacles.

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  • Derbyshire have brought in Stuart Law (who was cut loose by Lancashire) to boost their one-day firepower, but he won’t feature much in the County Championship. Charl Langeveldt will also be absent for at least three matches following his acquisition by Kolkatta for the IPL, but captain Chris Rogers is probably the best short-sighted colour-blind ginger cricketer in the world.
  • Gloucestershire, if anything, had an even worse season than Glamorgan, finishing rock bottom of the Championship in 2008. John Bracewell has a tough task on his hands to turn things around, but James Franklin’s arrival will help improve the standard of a bowling attack that struggled so much last year.
  • Northamptonshire struggled to win matches in 2008, so may be secretly hoping that Monty Panesar is dropped by England so that he can take key wickets for his county. The motley crew of Kolpaks and ‘Steelboks’ will otherwise have its work cut out to improve on last year’s showing.
  • Surrey find themselves back in Division Two once again, but the summer’s signings of Andre Nel – who will be available throughout the season – and Grant Elliot will boost their chances of promotion. Mark Ramprakash, of course, is still there, and now that he has passed the 100 centuries milestone, his county will be hoping that the part-time ballroom dancer returns to his form of 2006 and 2007.

A Division One preview will follow tomorrow.

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Simon Jones (remember him? He used to be really good) took 5 wickets for 30 runs in just shy of 13 overs for Worcestershire against Leicestershire today, in the battle of the counties Americans find difficult to pronounce.

This will probably get some people excited, especially as he has so far managed to stay fit for a whole five minutes. Not least amongst the excited people will be Jones himself, as he wants the chance to play for England again.

I think that is likely to be a forlorn hope, although I would welcome any Welsh additions to the England side, being of that persuasion myself.

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Geoff Miller recently said that he wanted England’s “peripheral players not to be just knocking on the door but banging it down”.

Ravi Bopara is probably one of the players he was talking about, and Bopara has continued his recent good form by making 201 not out in Essex’s Friends Provident Trophy Quarter Final destruction of Leicestershire.

Despite his poor form in Sri Lanka, there’s still a strong case for Bopara’s promotion from the England fringe to the Test side, especially if Paul Collingwood or Ian ‘Cricketer of the Year‘ Bell continue to produce the type of form that requires votes of confidence from the selectors.

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