Foster back at Essex helm
James Foster returns from suspension to lead Essex in the LV= County Championship match with Leicestershire at Grace Road, one of two starting tomorrow - both in Division Two.
Foster was banned for the Eagles’ last two games - in the Friends Life t20 - for being in charge on five or more occasions in a 12-month period when Essex players were found guilty of fixed-penalty offences.
Foster and fifth-placed Essex’s last championship game was a 171-run victory over leaders Northamptonshire, their second championship win of the season.
Head coach Paul Grayson said: “It would be nice if we could follow up our win against Northants with another victory because back-to-back wins are vital in this competition.
“The players and I have certainly not given up hope of making a real push towards promotion during this second-half of the season.
“Grace Road is never an easy place to go and get a result, but we’ll be taking a squad of players up there who we believe will give us a great opportunity of winning the match.
“We’ve got seven games to go now and we are going to have to win four of them - and probably five - if we are to get promoted, but I believe that we have the squad of players capable of achieving that.
“I can see no reason why we can’t make a real surge towards the top. The key is to be consistent and that’s something we’ve been lacking this year.
“Throughout the Friends Life t20 campaign and the four-day format, we have been very inconsistent and it’s very frustrating for everyone concerned particularly the management because you just do not know what Essex side are going to turn up.”
Foster can call on one England batsman, Ravi Bopara, but not on another, Alastair Cook.
Bottom-of-the-table Leicestershire have won just one match, but can take heart from their form in the FLt20, in which they have already secured a home quarter-final.
In the other game starting tomorrow, sixth-placed Surrey take on second-bottom Kent at the Kia Oval.
Seamer David Balcombe could go straight into Kent's side, having joined on a one-month loan from Hampshire today.