• County 3 min read

    Notts targeting immediate top-flight return

    Notts head coach Peter Moores says promotion back to Division One in the County Championship is their aim for the 2017 season.

    After nine years of top-flight cricket Nottinghamshire will be playing in the second division of the Specsavers County Championship in 2017, but their new Head Coach hopes it will only be a temporary visit to the lower tier.

    Peter Moores, who begins his first campaign in charge of last season’s underachievers, makes no bones about his desire to drive the club back at the first time of asking.

    "Ultimately, the goal is to put ourselves back as a First Division club and I don’t think we should hide from that,” said Moores.

    "I don’t think it will be a simple thing to do because there will be some really competitive cricket played but that is the goal.”

    Should the county’s supporters be alarmed at a suggestion that promotion would supersede either one-day hopes or player development, then the former England supremo is quick to point out that there can be room for them all.

    "I think they all probably go hand in hand to a certain degree," explained the 54-year old. “If you are playing good Championship cricket then there’s a good chance that it will spill over into the one-dayers and there’s also more chance that when you put players into the side they will develop because you are winning.

    "I think if we didn’t get promotion we would look back at the season and wouldn’t be satisfied.”

    Notts will be able to field an impressive battery of quick bowlers, particularly in the early weeks of the season when England’s Stuart Broad and Jake Ball are likely to be available, along with the likes of Harry Gurney, Luke Fletcher, Brett Hutton and Australia’s James Pattinson, who has been signed until the end of June as cover for the injured Peter Siddle.

    A lack of top-order runs was a problem for much of last season but the batting unit will be boosted by the return of Alex Hales.

    International commitments restricted his county appearances last year but he has work to do if he’s to regain a Test spot this summer. The plans are for him to bat at number four in red ball cricket.

    "Alex wants to try that middle order and I think that’s a good thing for him actually,” said Moores. “But he knows, like the rest of them, to play for England he’s got to play well for Nottinghamshire and he’s excited about having that opportunity."

    Whilst the drop was a huge blow to all at Trent Bridge, they have a man at the helm who has a wealth of experience in guiding sides to promotion.

    "I’ve been in Division Two twice before,” said Moores. "When I first started with Sussex we had to build a side. That was all about a young set of players learning how to play, before we could get out of it.

    "Then at Lancashire we won the Championship, went straight back down and came straight up again. You’ve just got to get your head around it (playing in Division Two) and get stuck in but you’ve still got to play good cricket.

    "I think we’ll be an identified side, which in some ways can put you under pressure but it’s a pressure I think our players should relish. We are a big county and we are going to try and make our mark on the division quickly.”

    Nottinghamshire have further warm up fixtures away at Cambridge MCCU and Glamorgan before their Championship programme begins against Leicestershire at Grace Road on 7 April.

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