This was going to be the 12 months the Hundred booted the County Championship to the margins of the summer season and took over the college holidays with its new 100-ball razzmatazz. That was within the outdated new world.
The brand new new world sees four-day cricket lording it over August as a substitute, within the guise of the one-off Bob Willis trophy, named after the much-loved England bowler and acerbic Sky pundit who died final 12 months. The competitors, which begins on Saturday, will consist of 5 rounds of four-day cricket performed in three regional groupings – North, Central and South, with every staff enjoying the opposite groups of their teams as soon as. The 2 groups with probably the most factors will then play a five-day closing within the autumn.
All video games will likely be held behind closed doorways, with the two,500 followers who had been anticipating watching the primary two days of matches involving Willis’s outdated golf equipment – Surrey, who tackle Middlesex beneath new captain Stephen Eskinazi on the Oval, and Warwickshire, who play Northamptonshire at Edgbaston – thwarted by the federal government’s announcement on Friday to postpone all pilot schemes.
At Trent Bridge, the younger batsman Haseeb Hameed will get his first run-out for Nottinghamshire, the place he moved within the winter after a disappointing couple of years at Previous Trafford beset by damage and unhealthy type. Notts play Derbyshire, who won’t have any dwelling group video games as their floor has been sequestered by the visiting Pakistan staff and can then be used for girls’s internationals.
A brand new-look Yorkshire, who misplaced Tim Bresnan (to Warwickshire) and gained Dawid Malan, journey to Chester-le-Avenue to play Durham beneath their new captain, Ned Eckersley. Lancashire discover themselves within the peculiar place of enjoying a house recreation at New Highway: with Previous Trafford procured by England, Lancashire had been uneasy about travelling to Grace Highway which was in localised lockdown. As of Thursday night time, in fact, that lockdown embraces Greater Manchester as nicely.
Fortunate Sussex, who will play all their dwelling video games at lovely Arundel with the Rose Bowl beneath momentary England administration, entertain Hampshire, whereas final 12 months’s county champions Essex play Kent at Chelmsford. Runners-up Somerset open with a recreation in opposition to Glamorgan at Taunton and Gloucestershire, promoted to Division One of many Championship on the finish of final season, tackle Worcestershire at Bristol.
The ECB has launched quite a lot of new guidelines designed to keep away from put on and tear on the bowlers who’re in need of match observe. A primary innings can final now not than 120 overs, there will likely be not more than 90 overs a day, new ball obtainable after 90 overs quite than 80, and the follow-on will come into play with a deficit of 200 quite than 150 runs. All, although, a small worth to play for the enjoyment of working again on to the pitch in aggressive cricket.
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