England call-ups force counties to reshuffle
England commitments leave several counties shorn of their key players for this week’s LV= County Championship matches, which start tomorrow.
Nottinghamshire’s crucial Division One clash with resurgent Durham at Trent Bridge sees James Taylor, Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad and Graham Onions all unavailable after retaining their places in Andrew Strauss’ squad for the third and final Investec Test against South Africa at Lord’s.
All-rounders Samit Patel and Ben Stokes are both representing the Lions against Australia A at Edgbaston, meaning Durham have recalled Ian Blackwell, who strengthened his claims for a first-team berth with a match-wining seven-wicket haul against the tourists last week.
Nottinghamshire, third in the top flight and looking to close the gap on leaders Warwickshire, will also be without Andre Adams and have doubts over the fitness of Harry Gurney, while Durham have eased their relegation fears with two successive wins.
Middlesex will be unable to call on England trio Strauss, Steven Finn and Eoin Morgan for the vital London derby against Surrey at the Kia Oval.
Strauss and Finn will be at Lord’s for the Investec series finale and Morgan is currently acting as Lions captain.
Surrey, led by Gareth Batty after Rory Hamilton-Brown stood down as captain last week, also have paceman Stuart Meaker operating in Birmingham.
Worcestershire are unable to field influential batsman Phil Hughes, who was drafted into the Australia A squad, for their relegation battle against a Lancashire side boosted by the availability of spinner Simon Kerrigan and all-rounder Luke Procter.
Yorkshire will hand Andrew Hodd a debut in their Division Two top-of-the-table encounter with Derbyshire at Headingley Carnegie.
The wicketkeeper, signed on loan from Sussex following the release of Gerard Brophy, has gone straight into a squad strengthened by the return to fitness of experienced seamer Ryan Sidebottom.
All-rounder Richard Pyrah is back after recovering from conjunctivitis, but Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow are on international duty.
Derbyshire, 26 points clear at the top with a game in hand, are set to include former White Rose spinner David Wainwright, who was rested for the Clydesdale Bank defeat to Kent due to a minor shoulder problem.
Karl Krikken is waiting for the results of scans on Jonathan Clare's and on-loan Warwickshire gloveman Richard Johnson’s back and leg injuries, with fit-again Ross Whiteley and Tom Poynton waiting in the wings should the pair fail to recover.
David Masters is absent with a side strain for Essex’s game with Glamorgan at Colchester.
Veteran Charl Willoughby fills the seamer’s boots and Tom Craddock is also named in Paul Grayson’s 12-man party.
The visitors are without Lions seamer James Harris and have dropped Gareth Rees, with Robert Croft, Nick James and fit-again Graham Wagg all included.
Northamptonshire, thwarted Leicestershire’s by stubborn lower-order resistance yesterday, are lacking the experience of Chaminda Vaas for the trip to Hampshire.
The Sri Lanka seamer has been ruled out for the rest of the season through injury and may once again be joined on the sidelines by Jack Brooks, who has been struggling with a niggle.
Will Gidman will make his return to Gloucestershire’s ranks following a side strain against faltering Kent at Bristol.
James Fuller has recovered from a side problem of his own and David Payne is fit after a heel injury, but Ian Saxelby and Paul Muchall are out with back and knee complaints.
Craig Miles comes into contention after finishing his education commitments, while Jonathan Batty replaces Richard Coughtrie behind the stumps.
Kent have lost their last two championship matches and will be unable to field Lions duo Matt Coles and James Tredwell.