Summer is here!

Posted in Domestic Cricket

Michael Yardy

Sussex skipper Michael Yardy soaks up the sun at the PROBIZ County Ground

To quote Andy Williams - “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”.

Yes, I know the veteran American singer was referring to Christmas in his much-covered 1963 hit, but, let’s be honest, the excitement provided by the festive season hardly compares to the lead-up to the English cricketing summer!

With the new domestic season set to begin on Thursday, more than half of the counties have chosen to hold their annual media days this week.

Naturally, ecb.co.uk will be bringing you exclusive interviews and videos from across the country, and today I had the pleasure of spending the morning at a sun-bathed Hove, where there was a palpable sense of anticipation and excitement.

Sussex certainly could not have asked for better weather as their players spent around an hour and a half posing for various team and individual photos on the immaculate outfield at the PROBIZ County Ground, before generously giving their time to the assembled press pack.

In fact, conditions on the south coast right now are so pleasurable that this particular writer is giving strong consideration to a mid-afternoon swim ... providing I can summon the energy to lift myself from a particularly comfy chair in the coffee shop that I currently inhabit.

Maybe the combination of sun, sea and sand has got to me (any coastline naturally seems more appealing when you’ve grown up in the landlocked city of Stoke-on-Trent), but after a winter of long nights and grey skies, I can’t be the only one harbouring great enthusiasm as the county season approaches.

And even if the weather fails to hold up (I can almost guarantee it will rain when I head to Aigburth next week), there is certainly plenty to look forward to.

As has so often been the case in recent years, the LV= County Championship appears wide open - I challenge you to forecast a winner with any degree of certainty - while the Clydesdale Bank 40 and Friends Life t20 are sure to provide their usual share of thrills and spills.

Factor in the growing number of young homegrown players making their way in the game and a typically exciting array of overseas signings - Chris Gayle, Saeed Ajmal and Mitchell Johnson to name just three - and the next six months appear even more mouthwatering.

You may have guessed this already, but I can’t wait for things to get started.

Enjoy the summer!

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