North ready to plant championship flag
Australian batting all-rounder Marcus North is set to make his Glamorgan LV= County Championship debut in the Division Two clash with joint leaders Derbyshire.
North, who has signed a two-year contract to be Glamorgan’s overseas player, takes over from countryman Moises Henriques who had been filling in until his arrival.
Jim Allenby has recovered from a back problem to face his former side, while former England paceman Simon Jones could play his first four-day game for the Welsh County since August 2007 after being named in the 13-man squad.
However, Glamorgan will be without Stewart Walters due to personal reasons, with Mike O’Shea set to replace the former Surrey batsman at Derby.
Ex-Derbyshire all-rounder Graham Wagg, who took 6-44 in the corresponding fixture, is still occupying the sidelines with a foot injury.
Yorkshire will again be without new overseas signing Mitchell Starc when they host Hampshire at Headingley Carnegie after the Australian experienced visa problems.
Azeem Rafiq and Iain Wardlaw are included in the absence of Tim Bresnan and Jonny Bairstow, who have been selected in England’s squad for the first Investec Test against West Indies, while Adam Lyth is preferred to Joe Sayers as Joe Root returns from England Lions duty.
Michael Carberry, who opened the batting with Root at Wantage Road last week, is available for Hampshire.
Hampshire manager Giles White said: “They’ve had a couple of wins and they’ve got a lot of depth so they’re the ‘form horse’ at the moment.
“We go up to Headingley having to produce a good performance as a group. That’s what we’ll focus on going into the game in the knowledge that, if we play well we’ll take them every step of the way.”
Northamptonshire are without injured duo Chaminda Vaas and Alex Wakely for the trip to face Kent at Canterbury.
The loss of the former Sri Lanka paceman to a sore hip is offset by the return of Jack Brooks from England Lions duty, while Wakely, who has a thigh strain, is replaced by fellow spinner Con de Lange.
In-form Kent seamer Matt Coles returns from Lions duty to replace Ivan Thomas, but Ashley Shaw is still nursing a shin injury.
Leicestershire have been boosted by the return to fitness of Will Jefferson for Essex’s visit to Grace Road.
The batsman has been sidelined with a back injury for the early part of the season, but has recovered in time to replace Kadeer Ali in a 12-man party.
Matthew Hoggard and Nathan Buck have felt no recurrence of their respective hand and back injuries and will keep their places, with Alex Wyatt also making the cut.
Essex are without Ravi Bopara after the England batsman suffered a quad injury during last week’s draw with Kent.
Graham Napier replaces Bopara, Adam Wheater comes in for Alastair Cook and Tom Craddock also makes the 12-man squad.
Former Leicestershire pair David Masters and Charl Willoughby are set to spearhead James Foster’s bowling attack.