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Cook in strong Essex line-up

Essex have the likes of Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara and new signing Monty Panesar available for the match against Derbyshire at Chelmsford.

With the summer’s first internationals a few weeks away, there is plenty to play for among those challenging for places.

While England skipper Cook will be aiming to find form, Bopara and Panesar will be targeting slots in the Test XI.

Their opponents have named the same squad that took on Durham MCCU in the last warm-up game.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul and new boy Stephen Moore impressed with the bat in that game and should have a big say in the recently-relegated county’s season.

Will Tavare is set to make his debut for Gloucestershire when Hampshire head to Bristol.

The 24-year-old will bat in the all-important number-three position, with skipper Michael Klinger and Chris Dent renewing their fruitful opening partnership.

With Gareth Roderick sidelined, Cameron Herring deputises behind the stumps.

Kyle Abbott immediately takes his place in Hampshire’s squad, which includes Danny Briggs after the left-arm spinner was left out for last week’s meeting with Worcestershire.

Worcestershire have named an unchanged side from their draw with Hampshire for the contest with Kent at New Road.

Daryl Mitchell’s unbeaten century was the highlight of Worcestershire’s season-opening encounter and he will be hoping to impress again.

Kent, meanwhile, will be able to call upon the services of Australian overseas left-arm seamer Doug Bollinger for their first game of the campaign.

LV= County Championship facts

  • Gloucestershire’s last eight home championship matches against Hampshire have produced one win apiece and six draws.
  • Worcestershire have lost one of their last 13 home championship matches against Kent, winning five and drawing seven in that time.
  • Derbyshire’s victory on their last trip to Essex, in 2012, ended a run of 34 away championship matches at Essex without a win (20 defeats, 14 draws).
  • Hampshire’s Jimmy Adams was the only batsman to hit two championship double-centuries in last season, against Worcestershire and Northamptonshire.
  • Kent recorded two of the three smallest wicket-margin victories in last year’s championship, beating Gloucestershire and Lancashire by two wickets.

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