Essex ready to welcome Durham MCCU

PUBLISHED: 09:05 02 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:05 02 April 2017

Essex begin a new first-class cricket season with a three-day match against Durham University at Chelmsford (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Essex begin a new first-class cricket season with a three-day match against Durham University at Chelmsford (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

County begin new first-class season against students

Essex begin the new first-class cricket season when Durham MCCU visit the The Cloudfm County Ground in a three-day fixture, starting on Sunday.

The match acts a warm-up ahead of the start of the Specsavers County Championship campaign next Friday (7 April) when Lancashire will be the visitors to Chelmsford as Essex take their place in Division One for the first time since 2010.

Essex head coach Chris Silverwood has named a strong 13-man squad to face the Durham students that includes Alastair Cook, and will see Adam Wheater keep wicket.

“It’s the start of what could be a very exciting year for us,” said Silverwood.

“We will be going at the fixture full guns blazing to try and put a marker down for ourselves as much as anything. We want to show what we want to do moving forward.

“Preparations for the season could not have been better, we had a pre-season tour to Dubai that went exceptionally well and we have strengthened our squad with some really good signings that will give us a lot of competition for every place in the starting line-up.

“I’m sure that there are going to be two or three disappointed players every now and again who could end up missing out on selection but it is a long season and with three different formats, we are going to need everyone at some stage.

“If you look at the best team, they have all got a strong squad and if we are to compete, we need that also.

“We have got real strength in depth now. Look at the batting front alone, we have got nine top-class batters in there who will all be fighting for a position in the starting line-up.

“We’ve now got a world-class spinner in Simon Harmer and Neil Wagner will soon be joining us as a leading fast bowler, so the year ahead really is an exciting prospect.”

Play is scheduled to start at 11am on all three days.

Essex: Ryan ten Doeschate (captain); Aaron Beard; Ravi Bopara; Nick Browne; Varun Chopra; Alastair Cook; Matt Dixon; Simon Harmer; Dan Lawrence; Jamie Porter; Callum Taylor; Tom Westley; Adam Wheater.

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