Chapple fit to lead Red Rose
Captain Glen Chapple has been passed fit for struggling Lancashire’s LV= County Championship Division One match with Middlesex.
The 38-year-old got the all clear from a scan on a side strain and will lead his side at Aigburth, but all-rounder Tom Smith continues to occupy the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
Eoin Morgan will make his first championship start in two years after the left-hander made his return from the Indian Premier League in Sunday’s Clydesdale Bank 40 victory over Leicestershire.
However, Middlesex are without Andrew Strauss and Steven Finn, who have both been named in England’s squad for the second Investec Test against West Indies at Trent Bridge.
Surrey have named an unchanged 13-man party for the arrival of leaders Warwickshire, with Jade Dernbach and Tim Linley looking for recalls to the starting XI.
Team director Chris Adams said: “We are excited about this week and are focused on being clinical for all four days of the game. If we do that then we will give ourselves the best opportunity to win this game against Warwickshire.”
Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes made his four-day return in last week’s draw against the Red Rose and is set to retain his place at the Kia Oval.
In Division Two, Hampshire are boosted by the return of Dimitri Mascarenhas for the visit of Glamorgan.
The 34-year-old all-rounder has returned from representing Kings XI Punjab in the IPL, but will only start if he passes a fitness test.
Sean Ervine, who struck 75 to get his side over the line against Glamorgan a month ago, has been given the all clear to play despite injuring his shoulder in last week’s draw at Yorkshire.
Glamorgan welcome back Stewart Walters and Alex Jones for the trip to the Ageas Bowl.
The pair missed the defeat to Derbyshire, the former due to personal reasons, but return in place of former Hampshire and England paceman Simon Jones and Nick James.
Owais Shah returns from his spell on the sub-continent to bolster Essex’s batting ranks against league leaders Derbyshire.
Shah’s Rajasthan Royals failed to qualify for the knockout stages, meaning he is free to return to Essex’s 12-man party.
Ben Foakes, who struck 93 on debut last week, keeps his place, while Greg Smith is set to play against his former team.
Tony Palladino fills the void left by Mark Footitt, who has a back injury, as Derbyshire look to maintain their unbeaten start to the season at Chelmsford.
Seamer Ally Evans has been rewarded with a place in Karl Krikken’s 13-man squad.
Palladino knows Derbyshire will have to be on their guard, especially against prolific seam bowlers David Masters and Charl Willoughby.
He told ecb.co.uk: “If the wicket is doing a bit, then they are going to be hard work. It depends on the wicket, we tend to try and bat first at Derby because we know the wicket has been playing pretty well.
“If the wicket is green at Chelmsford, then it will do a bit the first morning so we might change and have a bowl first. But whatever we do, I’m sure we will be fully prepared.”
Kent are set to name an unchanged squad for Leicestershire’s trip to Canterbury.
Azhar Mahmood has completed his IPL commitments, but is unlikely to come back into first-team contention just yet, while Ashley Shaw continues to make good progress on a shin problem.
Robbie Joseph is set to return to his old ground for the first time since he was released in November with no hard feelings.
The seamer told ecb.co.uk: “It’s a game of cricket, it will be nice. Kent will always be my home. I am looking forward to it, I’m not going to lie, but I look forward to every cricket game I play.
“It will be nice to play there from the other side, it will be an experience. Cricket is a business, if they didn't think they were going to get a return from having me as an employee, then fair enough you cut your losses.
“It’s not for me to do or prove anything to anybody, it’s just for me to go and do what I do which is to try and win games of cricket. That’s all I have my mind on and have every intention of doing.”
Northamptonshire have lost a quintet of players to injury for the clash with Gloucestershire.
Luke Evans (back), Rob Newton (broken wrist), Ben Howgego (wrist) and Sam Sweeney (arm) all sit out, while England Lions seamer Jack Brooks is resting a stiff neck.
Sri Lankan seamer Chaminda Vaas will have to pass a fitness test on a troublesome hip, with David Burton in line to play if he fails to recover in time.
However, there is some good news after Alex Wakely shrugged off a leg muscle strain.
Gloucestershire have handed Jonathan Batty his first championship start of the season in place of Richard Coughtrie at Wantage Road.
Liam Norwell is also in contention to play after impressing during the recent three-day match with Cambridge MCCU.