Monday, April 19, 2010
Yes, Essex have played a couple of matches and have made a great start to their championship campaign by stunning Hampshire in a thrilling last over finish and holding the upper hand even against the formidable Durham side, but I would like to have a look at the Essex squad.
Essex secured second place in the second division and as a result got promoted to the first division this year. Essex play their cricket at Chelmsford and the captain of their side is the relatively young Mark Pettini. Anyway let us have a look at the squad.
As I said, the young Pettini is the captain of their side. Pettini was known more as a one day player, but in recent times has been in decent form in the County Championship. He is a ok player though, hasn't been able to get big scores. Pettini also has done a fine job as the captain of the side. Essex this season have signed Middlesex's opening batsman Godleman. He is a promising player and had a decent start to his career, but in recent times has struggled to do well and could only get 160 runs at an average of 17.7 last season. He has started this season on a better note as he scored 92 against Hampshire. Godleman is very much a bottom handed player and can struggle to get runs in the V, but is very strong square of the wicket especially, on the on-side.
Essex do have both Cook and Bopara in the squad. Alistair Cook would be a asset to any County side, but just like other England's players one expects him to miss most of the matches. Of course, at present England aren't playing any internationals and him being not selected in the T/20 squad has made him him available to play for the Essex team. Bopara only played couple of matches last year, but was able to flay second division county attacks. Bopara though at present is playing in the IPL and has been selected to play in the T/20 world cup, still should be available for at least some of the matches as he has been dropped from the test and one-day side. He can be good to watch, but his habit of playing across the line has got him into trouble in test cricket. In first division his technique can be tested as he would be up against bowlers like the destroyer of county teams Harmison, Plunkett, Mahmood, Woakes, Chapple, Amjad, Shreck, Adams and co.
Among others, they do have Walker. He is a very experienced campaigner as he has been around for about 18 years, but has had an up and down career though, has done far better in recent times. Maunders looked a decent prospect when he first came onto the scene but has become a journeyman in County cricket. His average of just over 30 and him having already left both Middlesex and Leicestershire proves that fact. Essex's wicketkeeper Foster was in good form last season and has started this season as well on a bang by getting a big hundred against Durham. Foster has improved his batting and his keeping has always been good, but England's selectors have given him a raw deal. Mickleburgh is a young batsman and to his creidt has had a decent start to his career. Tom Westley is another promising player and this season has already made an impression by getting a crucial fifty against Hampshire.
The first name that can come to anyone's mind would be the Dutch all-rounder Ryan Ten Doeschate. He is a game changer as he can take crucial wickets or get a quickfire 50 under pressure. He showed his class by getting a crucial fifty against the formidable Hampshire side but wait, as he came back to destroy the opposition ranks by getting 5 for 13 and that included a wicket in the last over of the match which helped Essex to win against Hampshire!! If I'm the captain of a team I would always like to have players like Ryan in the side. Among the associate players, I would always keep an keen eye on Ryan. Napier too can come in and take crucial wickets and tear apart opposition bowling attacks. Essex are lucky to have both Ryan and Napier in the side.
Maurice Chambers from Jamaica can bowl at good pace, but just like other young quicks would take his time to bowl line and length. He is still a work in progress player but has potential. The former Kent medium pacer Masters is a expereinced campaigner and has consistently taken wickets. He isn't quick, but knows how to bowl in English conditions by bowling a nagging line and length and keeping it tight. Masters has started well this season by taking a 6 wicket haul against Hampshire. The left arm spinner Tim Phillips has been injury prone, and has struggled to get a permanent place in the side. Philips this season has started well by taking seven wickets against the formidable Durham side. The medium pacer Palladino had a decent start to his career, but has been beset by injury problems.Chris Wright has struggled to make an impression for the Essex side and the same can be said about Westfield but both are young.
Among their foreign players, they have Kaneria and he has been a asset to the Essex side over the years. I rate this spinner from Pakistan highly, but still can't believe that he hasn't become mad as Pakistan's fielders likely have dropped at least 50 chances of his bowling lol (it is by no means an exaggeration) He would certainty expect better effort from the Essex's fielders! He depends more on bounce and has a well disguised googly though, the feeling is he uses that googly too much. Kaneria though is under the scanner for alleged spot-fixing charges and that won't help. Chris Martin of NZ has been signed by the Essex side as a cover for Kaneria as Kaneria is playing domestic cricket in Pakistan. Martin though seems to have lost the zip in his bowling as he struggled against Australia recently. He had the ability to get late swing back into the righthander, but that is missing from his armoury now. Of course, I do hope I won't have to talk about his famous batting abilities lol.
It has been a great start for the Essex side as they beat Hampshire and dominated the formidable Durham side. The bowling attack can be a bit of worry, but it should get better once Kaneria joins the side. Actually, it is great to see Essex unlike other second division teams giving the big boys a run for their money.