Broad back for Old Trafford clash
Stuart Broad is ready to make his comeback from a calf injury while fellow England bowlers Graeme Swann and James Anderson are also set to make their first appearances of the domestic season when Lancashire play Nottinghamshire at Old Trafford.
Broad’s injury forced him to return home early from England’s tour of Sri Lanka. His Nottinghamshire team-mate Swann and Lancashire’s Anderson have been rested since that trip but will now return to LV= County Championship action.
Notts director of cricket Mick Newell said: “Graeme is ready to play and will slot straight in, but Stuart hasn’t had any competitive cricket for a month.
“We all know what they are capable of and they need to use these games to prepare for a big summer of international cricket.
“Having a second spinner in the side and introducing Stuart may alter the balance of the side a bit and we’ll make a late call as to how many bowlers we name in the team.”
Seamer Luke Fletcher is rested to accommodate Broad and, as Notts’ top order is set to remain unchanged, Steven Mullaney, Paul Franks, Harry Gurney, Ben Phillips and Andy Carter must compete for two places.
Following redevelopment work at Old Trafford, as a consequence of which Lancashire did not play championship games there last year, it will be the first four-day contest in Manchester since Notts won the Division One title in 2010.
The Red Rose’s 13-man squad includes South African batsman Ashwell Prince, who enjoyed a brief stint as the overseas player at Trent Bridge in 2008.
This week’s other Division One fixture sees early leaders Warwickshire welcome bottom side Durham to Edgbaston.
Ian Blackwell returns to the Durham squad after recovering from a shoulder injury, but fellow all-rounder Ben Stokes will once again operate as a specialist batsman as he continues to battle a back complaint.
In Division Two, Derbyshire and Gloucestershire both have the opportunity to overhaul table-topping Kent, who are not in action this week, when they meet at Derby.
Second-placed Derbyshire have selected the same 11 players that drew with Leicestershire last time out, along with seamers Tim Groenewald and Mark Turner.
England opener Alastair Cook will open the batting for Essex at Glamorgan's SWALEC Stadium.
Cook, another member of Andy Flower’s side enjoying his first county outing of the year this week, will be followed at the top of the order by former Glamorgan captain Alviro Petersen, while spinner Tom Craddock has also been added to the XI that featured in the rain-ruined clash with Northamptonshire.
“It's obviously a boost to have Cookie with us for the next couple of weeks and hopefully the weather will relent to allow us to play our cricket,” said Essex head coach Paul Grayson.
Glamorgan are unchanged, with Jim Allenby still sidelined by a back problem.
Hampshire will be led by Simon Katich for a second successive week when they take on Northamptonshire at Wantage Road. Katich deputises for Jimmy Adams, who remains unavailable due to personal reasons.
Northamptonshire’s captain, Andrew Hall, returns from a calf injury to boost a team still seeking their first win of the campaign.
Yorkshire host Leicestershire at Scarborough, but the White Rose will be unable to include new overseas signing Mitchell Starc, who is not expected to arrive in the country until the weekend.
Ajmal Shahzad also misses the game, following the shock news that he is to end his association with the White Rose. His place in the squad is taken by Anthony McGrath.
Leicestershire add Claude Henderson to the XI on duty at the Ageas Bowl last week.
Antiguan seamer Robbie Joseph, one of the Foxes’ star performers so far this season, told ecb.co.uk: “Yorkshire have got a very good bowling attack, but they haven’t really done what paper would suggest they would be doing.
“I expect them to be a decent team, a good challenge and it’s like every other game, you have to go out and fight and whoever does best over the four days will win the game.
“I have played at Scarborough before, although I’m not sure it suits my bowling. I think I got a few wickets when I played there last time, but it’s been quite a long time since I have been there.”