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Cricket: Essex set for busy Vitality Blast T20 spell

PUBLISHED: 16:29 01 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:29 01 August 2018

Essex head coach Anthony McGrath (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Essex head coach Anthony McGrath (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Essex Eagles have a busy schedule of Vitality Blast cricket ahead with three matches in four days, starting with a trip to The Spitfire Ground, Canterbury where Kent Spitfires are the opponents on Thursday (7pm).

They continue on the road with a match at Taunton on Friday against Somerset (4.30pm), before hosting Surrey on Sunday afternoon at The Cloudfm County Ground, commencing at 2.30pm.

Kent Spitfires and Somerset are amongst the pace-setters in the South Group with both having nine points from seven matches and holding second and third places respectively.

But Essex Eagles head coach Anthony McGrath refuses to concede that his side are out of contention for a top-four position and a place in the knockout stages.

“Things can turn around quickly in T20 cricket and with eight matches to go, there are still a lot of points to play for,” he said.

“Having said that, we are probably looking at winning five or maybe six of our remaining matches so that’s going to be tough but it can be done.

“We’ve thrown away a few points this season and we came close to winning a couple of our recent games without playing well. So we know that if we can raise our game up a notch, we can get a winning run going.

“Obviously, at this stage, we are under pressure to get things right quickly so after these next three matches, we’ll have a pretty good idea of where we are in this season’s T20 cricket.

“The players are frustrated because we are not replicating out on the pitch what they’ve been doing in training. We need a batter to provide a 70 or 80 and with the ball, we seem to concede one over of 20 or 25 which is killing us, so we need to cut that out.”

New Zealander Neil Wagner has returned to his native country following the end of his contract with the county and that allows the return of Australian paceman Peter Siddle who was with Essex for the first five Championship matches of the campaign.

“Peter rejoins us and is available for the remainder of the T20 campaign and it will be good to have him around to join up with his fellow Aussie Adam Zampa who has been excellent for us,” added McGrath.

“There are few niggles in the regular squad and we might have to change the side around a bit.

“We know what we’ve got to do now if we want to get to the next stage in the competition so we’ve really got to go for it starting with the next three games” he concluded.

The Eagles will take a 14-man squad to Canterbury that includes Jamie Porter who was called up for the England squad for the First Test with India but was omitted from the starting XI.

The seamer has been made available by the ECB for the next two Vitality Blast matches, however Tom Westley misses the game due to an elbow injury.

Essex: Ryan ten Doeschate; Adam Wheater; Ravi Bopara; Varun Chopra; Matt Coles; Sam Cook; James Foster; Simon Harmer; Dan Lawrence; Jamie Porter; Matt Quinn; Peter Siddle; Paul Walter; Adam Zampa.

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