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Azhar in line for Northants bow

Division Two leaders Northamptonshire are set to hand an LV= County Championship debut to seam bowler Muhammad Azhar Ullah when they face Hampshire at Wantage Road from tomorrow.

Azhar, a Pakistan-born UK resident, joined Northants over the winter and boasts 190 first-class wickets at an impressive average of 26.51.

The 29-year-old has produced a string of impressive performances for the second XI and replaces the rested Steven Crook.

In the absence of injured skipper Stephen Peters, Matthew Spriegel will continue to open the batting alongside Kyle Coetzer, while Trent Copeland makes his penultimate championship appearance before returning to Australia.

Hampshire will once again have Michael Bates keeping wicket as Adam Wheater remains unavailable with a side injury.

Michael Roberts comes in for George Bailey, who has left the county to link up with Australia’s Champions Trophy squad.

Lancashire have something of a selection dilemma ahead of their fixture against Gloucestershire at Aigburth.

Simon Katich is set to return, having been forced to pull out of last week’s draw with Hampshire when he was struck on the head in the nets prior to the first day’s play.

However, the man who replaced Katich in Lancashire’s line-up, Andrea Agathangelou, is unlikely to be left out given he struck a maiden championship hundred following his late call-up.

“He’s stuck his hand up and said 'you've given me a chance, I've taken it',” said Lancashire head coach Peter Moores.

In the other match starting tomorrow, Kent welcome Leicestershire to Tunbridge Wells.