Mendis in line for Somerset bow
Sri Lanka spinner Ajantha Mendis has arrived in England and is set to make his debut for Somerset in their opening LV= County Championship match against Warwickshire at Taunton.
Mendis has been signed as cover for Murali Kartik, who is currently competing in the Indian Premier League, and skipper Marcus Trescothick expects him to make an immediate impact.
Trescothick told Somerset’s official website: “We could hardly have signed a more exciting player. Mendis is unique in the number of different balls he bowls and it will be interesting to see opposing batsmen trying to work him out.”
Former Gloucestershire seamers Gemaal Hussain and Steve Kirby are also poised to make their championship bows for the club. Kirby is expected to be fit despite being hampered by injuries during pre-season, although youngster Adam Dibble has been included as cover.
England Lions wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter will be moved up the order to five following Zander de Bruyn’s move to Surrey.
Warwickshire will be without the experienced Mohammad Yousuf and Neil Carter.
Pakistan batsman Yousuf is set to link up with the team during the game and will be available for the following championship fixture versus Worcestershire at New Road.
Carter, the Professional Cricketers’ Association’s player of the year in 2010, suffered a stress fracture of the pelvis on his return to pre-season training and will miss the first month of the campaign.
The 36-year-old all-rounder told ecb.co.uk: "I came back here and broke down on the second day, so it’s a bit frustrating.
“I’ve been out for a few weeks already, so it’s good that it happened in pre-season and not the start of the season. I’ve just got to keep working on my rehab and come back some time in May.”
Ireland captain Will Porterfield is set to make his debut following his winter move from Gloucestershire, but England duo Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott are both unavailable.
Nottinghamshire are boosted by the presence of Andre Adams as they begin the defence of their Division One crown against Hampshire at Trent Bridge.
The seamer, the leading wicket-taker in the country last year with 68 victims, arrived in the UK on Monday after a winter playing for Auckland in his native New Zealand.
Adams has been added to the team that drew with Oxford MCCU this week, while Charlie Shreck has been recalled from his loan spell at Kent following minor injuries to Darren Pattinson and Andy Carter.
“This time last week we had six fit seamers and now we’re down to four so the side has picked itself in the end,“ said director of cricket Mick Newell.
Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad, both of whom are centrally contracted, are unavailable following their England exploits over the winter.
Graham Onions could return to Durham’s line-up for their match against Yorkshire at Headingley Carnegie.
Onions has been sidelined since January 2010 with knee and back complaints, but made his comeback against Durham MCCU last week.
Onions or Mitch Claydon will replace the injured Steve Harmison, while former skipper Will Smith will open the batting in the absence of Mark Stoneman, who has also been ruled out through injury.
Yorkshire welcome back former England batsman Anthony McGrath following his recovery from knee surgery.
Essex will have to wait another week for South Africa seamer Lonwabo Tsotsobe after he was ruled out of the Division Two match with Middlesex at Lord’s due to a family bereavement.
Essex only announced the 27-year-old’s signing on Friday - too late for him to play in their championship opener against Kent that began that day - but he was expected to make his debut for them this week. Tsotsobe’s Essex bow will now likely be versus Northamptonshire next week, subject to him obtaining a visa in time.
Essex head coach Paul Grayson, who will again have England pair Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara available but will be missing Indian Premier League pair Owais Shah and Ryan ten Doeschate, hinted at his bowling attack for Lord’s.
“We’ll delay naming our line-up until the morning of the game when we have had a look at the pitch to see what the conditions are like,” he said. “Lord’s normally swings around a bit early season so we might use a four-man seam attack and use Tom Westley’s off-spin as an option if we need to.”