The LV County Championship season continues on Thursday and with an England Test captain about to be appointed and advertisements out for the next coach with just five weeks until the first Test match the attention on the competition is going to increase from here on in.
We’ve seen some excellent cricket over the first three weeks of the season and we would be foolish to expect any different this week. Once again we are reduced to the county streams to watch the action with the IPL getting the TV treatment.
All 10 teams are in action in Division One this week with the leaders Surrey looking to remain in top spot when they head to Bristol to face a Gloucestershire side who are still looking for their first win of the campaign. Second host third this week as Hampshire welcome Lancashire to the Ageas Bowl while the champions Warwickshire head to Taunton to take on a Somerset side who will be looking to spark their season into life. The former champions Essex play host to Northamptonshire while the other match sees Yorkshire, who hoped to have Joe Root back this week but that isn’t the case, host Kent.
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All the teams in Division Two are on show this week as well which means that we have four matches to look forward to. Pre-season favourites Nottinghamshire hit the top of the table last week when they won away to Durham and they will host third placed Worcestershire this week. Derbyshire are a bit of a surprise package and sit in second place in the table ahead of their match with fourth placed Glamorgan as Shan Masood goes up against Marnus Labuschagne. There is no shortage of stars on show at Hove where Sussex will welcome Durham while Leicestershire head to Lord’s to take on Middlesex in the other match.
Warwickshire got off the mark for the season from a winning point of view last week and I expect them to build on that against a Somerset who were much improved last week at The Oval but who were ultimately beaten again. This Somerset batting isn’t functioning as a unit yet. Admittedly they are missing players who will improve it but they have picked up where they left off last season in that they can’t seem to get on top of teams.
To be fair to Somerset, they almost pulled off an amazing win here against Essex a couple of weeks ago but I think Warwickshire are beginning to look ominous. Their batting showed up to the party last week and that is without Dom Sibley getting going yet. They also have a wonderful balance to their bowling attack and have seamers who can take advantage if there is something in the wicket here. Warwickshire were my idea of the champions this season and I see no reason to desert them yet.
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