By Dominic Farrell
Hampshire and Glamorgan will have an eye on the LV= County Championship Division Two summit when they face off at the Ageas Bowl from tomorrow.
Leaders Worcestershire are not in action this week and Hampshire will replace them at the top with a victory.
Glamorgan, whose unbeaten four-match run marks their best start to a championship campaign for 10 years, will do likewise if they triumph with a haul of 19 points or better.
The Welsh team must attempt this feat without Australian paceman Michael Hogan, who has flown home to attend the birth of his second child, while Hampshire’s 13-man squad is unchanged from their last outing against Surrey.
Derbyshire will hope the arrival of new wicketkeeper Gareth Cross can inspire them to move off the bottom of the table when they welcome Kent to the 3aaa County Ground.
Cross has been without a county since leaving Lancashire at the end of last season, and he is joined in the hosts' squad by Scott Elstone, Tom Taylor, Alex Hughes, Paul Borrington as elite performance director Graeme Welch rings the changes.
Kent are unchanged from last week’s resounding victory over Surrey, when skipper Rob Key and Brendan Nash struck centuries and off-spinner Adam Riley claimed nine wickets in the match.
Surrey have the opportunity to bounce back from that reverse and chase a first win of the season against Gloucestershire when seventh hosts eighth at the Kia Oval.
Head coach Graham Ford has elected to shuffle his pack, with Tom Curran, Gary Wilson and Chris Tremlett coming into the squad as Stuart Meaker and Jade Dernbach drop out to prepare for the start of the NatWest T20 Blast next week.
The eagerly-awaited launch of the remodelled short-format competition is expected to come too soon for Gloucestershire all-rounder Will Gidman, who will sit out the trip to London due to a knee complaint.
Director of cricket John Bracewell told his county’s official website: “Will is feeling something in his lower hamstring and outside knee, which needs to be cleared up.
“He has been put on a strengthening programme to help with that and we don’t think he will be out for long.”
LV= County Championship facts
- Derbyshire have won their last two home championship matches against Kent – they last won three consecutive games at home versus this week's opponents between 1935 and 1937.
- Hampshire last lost a championship match against Glamorgan in 1991, winning 11 and drawing seven of the meetings since.
- Gloucestershire have lost just one of their last eight away championship matches against Surrey, drawing four and winning three, including their last two visits.
- 40 of Jon Lewis’ completed 95 overs this championship season have been maidens. Sussex's Steve Magoffin has delivered 39 maidens in his completed 117 overs.
- Alex Gidman has hit two championship centuries and seven half-centuries in 19 innings against Surrey, at an average of 64.6.