The Season is Here!
Apr 7 2011
Hampshire vs Durham
LV= County Championship
Friday 8th – Monday 11th April
The Rose Bowl
Having struggled with injuries – particularly to their bowling group – last season, Hampshire welcome back from injury Simon Jones for the opening match of the season at home to Durham. The pace bowler have had a fantastic winter, finishing as top wicket-taker in the Caribbean T20 and impressing in all Hampshire’s pre-season friendlies. He is expected to open the bowling with Friedel de Wet who’s joined the squad from South Africa and has also looked good in pre-season. David Griffiths also returns as one of the squad's seamers.
Left-arm spinner Danny Briggs should be first choice slow bowler having taken around 50 wickets for England over the winter. However, the squad will have overseas star Imran Tahir (having surgery on a thumb injury), James Tomlinson (out for 2-4 weeks with a minor foot injury) and David Balcombe (recovering from a long-term back injury) missing from their attack.
With the bat, Jimmy Adams returns having been rested in pre-season due – like Briggs – to a heavy work-load with England over the summer. The squad will also see the return of Neil McKenzie following a first-class season in South Africa in which he finished second-top run-scorer (despite only playing 7 of the 10 scheduled matches) and the Championship debut of fellow countryman Johann Myburgh.
However, the team will be without Michael Carberry who will miss the first half of the season as he recovers from a blood-clot on the lung and Michael Lumb who is playing with the Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League. Youngster, Benny Howell, may therefore get the nod for his first ever Championship start, having notched up runs aplenty in pre-season.
Experienced wicket-keeper Nic Pothas regains the gloves having missed the second half of last season with a knee injury.
Jimmy Adams (4), Danny Briggs (19), Dominic Cork* (12), Liam Dawson (8), Friedel de Wet (30), Sean Ervine (7), David Griffiths (18), Benny Howell (13), Simon Jones (10), Neil McKenzie (27), Johann Myburgh (98), Nic Pothas (9), James Vince (14)
Durham head into this year’s LV= County Championship season full of anticipation after 2010’s year of transition. The 2008 and 2009 champions eventually finished fifth last season after struggling throughout the campaign with injuries - especially to their bowling attack – and adapting to a change of captaincy.
Phil Mustard, who is expected to play despite missing the three day first-class fixture against Durham MCCU with a slight foot injury, will continue as captain in the Championship despite being relieved of duties for limited overs cricket. Youngsters Scott Borthwick and Ben Stokes look to continue in the side after impressing while playing alongside more established players Michael Di Venuto, Dale Benkenstein and Ian Blackwell.
West Indian Ruel Brathwaite has been added to an already fierce bowling unit after impressing in the final LV= County Championship game against Somerset last season, taking match figures of 4 for 118 to halt the county’s title hopes. However, he remains a doubt with hamstring trouble. Veteran Steve Harmison is expected to take a leading role alongside Liam Plunkett with fellow England hopeful Mark Davies struggling with a foot injury.
The recently Test-retired Paul Collingwood is ruled out after he required knee surgery following an extensive England campaign over the winter and Graham Onions is also expected to miss out as he’s only just started bowling again having missing all of last season due to a stress fracture.
Follow text updates from the match live on our Twitter and Facebook pages or, better still, come down and support the team...