Alan Gardner reports from Chelmsford as Hameed proves his fitness and one of Lancashire's new signings shines
by Andrew McGlashan4/7/2017 7:08:10 PM
Mark Stoneman strikes first Championship ton of season as Surrey dominate against Warwickshire
New skipper Gary Ballance hits immediate ton as Yorkshire captain before Ben Coad's amazing spell brings gloom for Hampshire
Northants said they were sick of being "ordinary" in the Championship - they routed Glamorgan for 101
Leicestershire crash against Nottinghamshire after eve-of-season 16-point fine
Is it the end of the line for James Foster?
by David Hopps4/7/2017 9:48:54 AM
We apologise for continued technical issues at ScribbleLive with social sign-ins on mobile phones.
by David Hopps4/7/2017 7:32:27 AM
3rd & 7 37yd
3rd & 7 37yd
Essex v Lancashire (Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford)
Essex start their first season in Division One since 2010 without Alastair Cook, who is keen to play a big part in establishing the county in the top tier – but who has been ruled out of the opener with a hip problem. They still have plenty of batting firepower in Nick Browne, Tom Westley, Dan Lawrence, Ravi Bopara and wicketkeeper Adam Wheater, who rejoined them from Hampshire at the end of last season, and are set to hand a debut to Neil Wagner, the New Zealand bowler who had an impressive stint with Lancashire last summer.
Lancashire’s attack will be led by Jimmy Anderson, who has been made available for two of the first three matches of the season by England. Haseeb Hameed is also set to play after a reassuring diagnosis of the finger injury that forced him to retire hurt in a pre-season game against Cambridge MCCU, and new coach Glen Chapple hopes that his two winter Kolpak signings Dane Vilas and Shiv Chanderpaul will stiffen their batting.
Surrey v Warwickshire (Kia Oval)
Surrey are expected to hand debuts to Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick, their two winter signings from Durham, who add to a range of batting options which already included Kumar Sangakkara, Rory Burns, Dom Sibley and Zafar Ansari – fit again after the back problems which affected him in India before Christmas.
The major off-season changes at Warwickshire have been behind the scenes, with Jim Troughton succeeding Dougie Brown in charge of the team, and Ashley Giles returning from Lancashire as Sport Director. They have a good record in Surrey – but Surrey have gone two full Championship seasons unbeaten at the Kia Oval.
Yorkshire v Hampshire (Headingley)
Yorkshire start life after Jason Gillespie, and under the new captain-coach team of Gary Ballance and Andrew Gale, with injury problems among their seamers, as Jack Brooks, Liam Plunkett and Ryan Sidebottom are all out.
With David Willey and Matthew Fisher still rebuilding their match fitness after winter injuries, Ben Coad, a 23-year-old from Harrogate, is set to make his second Championship appearance in a seam attack led by Tim Bresnan and Steve Patterson, and also featuring Josh Shaw. Peter Handscomb, the club’s new overseas signing, will make his debut. Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Adil Rashid were not made available by England, but all three are due to play in a rapid return match at the Ageas Bowl in a fortnight.
Hampshire are set to hand debuts to their Kolpak signings Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw. George Bailey, who has been appointed Championship captain, has yet to arrive after his wedding, so James Vince will lead the team on a ground where he hit a significant century in an early-season fixture in 2016. The inclusion of Michael Carberry and Mason Crane in a 12-man squad will be widely welcomed, for contrasting reasons.
Kent v Gloucestershire
Kent will start a seventh consecutive season in Division Two under new management, having appointed their former player Matt Walker as head coach and recruited Jason Gillespie as a high-profile short-term assistant when their original choice Allan Donald was unable to secure a visa. They are set to give a debut to James Harris, the Welsh seamer who has joined them on loan from Middlesex, as they aim to pick up where they left off last season in finishing second – a position which would secure promotion this year.
Phil Mustard, the former England wicketkeeper who has joined Gloucestershire from Durham after a loan spell last year, will captain the team because Gareth Roderick is ill. Cameron Bancroft has returned and has big boots to fill following the retirement of Hamish Marshall and with Michael Klinger only available for one-day cricket this season. The former Sussex seamer Chris Liddle and local youngster Oliver Currill are both included in a 13-man squad.
Leicestershire v Nottinghamshire
Peter Moores, who will start his first season as first team coach at Nottinghamshire with Mick Newell moving upstairs after relegation last summer, has a formidable seam attack including Stuart Broad and new Australian signing James Pattinson for the short trip to Broad’s first county. Jake Ball is resting at England’s request, but is set to replace Broad in another away match at Durham starting next Friday, and Alex Hales will aim to restate his England red-ball claims as a middle-order batsman at number four.
Leicestershire, who avoided the wooden spoon last season for the first time since 2012, are also under new management, as the South African Pierre de Bruyn stepped up to succeed Andrew McDonald following his return to Australia. Colin Ackermann, a 26-year-old right-hander from Port Elizabeth, and the former Lancashire seamer Gavin Griffiths could make debuts.
Northamptonshire v Glamorgan
Marchant de Lange, the former South Africa fast bowler whose move to Glamorgan finally went through this week, is set to make his debut – a timely one, given an early-season seam-bowling crisis that has ruled out Michael Hogan, Timm van der Gugten and Graham Wagg, who needs groin surgery. De Lange is likely to share the new ball with Harry Podmore, a promising Middlesex bowler who is set to repeat last season’s loan move to Wales.
Northamptonshire also have injury issues, with Richard Gleeson, Mohammad Azharullah and Rob Keogh all out. But they have signed Nathan Buck from Lancashire, Ben Duckett will be aiming for a repeat of his spectacular start to 2016, and their captain Alex Wakeley has prioritised four-day improvement for the T20 champions and specialists, saying they are “fed up of being average”.
CricinfoESPNcricinfo is set to start the County Championship Cricket season with a bang as it sets off on a cross-country road trip which aims to take in action from every match on the opening day of the season
by David Hopps edited by Andrew McGlashan4/7/2017 7:56:49 AM
To misquoth Noddy Holder, it's Crrrrriiiiiiiicketmas! Lovely stuff. Although an early admonition for whichever sub missed the opportunity to go with "Shreck makes a donkey of himself" for the Leics points docking story
by NemoUKS4/7/2017 8:06:45 AM
by Matt Warwick4/7/2017 8:09:26 AM
Morning everyone. What a pleasure it is to be back here. Thank you to Hoppsy and all the other good people of Cricinfo for keeping the valuable resource operating. Sun shining brightly (in London, at least), and much to look forward to in the season ahead. And Durham are not the only county on a negative starting balance! That's er, good - right? Happy new season to all
by PT10794/7/2017 8:20:06 AM
morning all! happy new season
by MrNeale924/7/2017 8:20:35 AM
Also if I may be permitted a minor plug, this season I've taken the CC fantasy league to the next level and we're now fully automated at cricketxi.com (With more than a little help from an Aussie, so it's just like County Cricket...) Join public leagues or my CCL one using the code FIBNJQGO - sign ins are social media same as this :)
by NemoUKS4/7/2017 8:23:54 AM
woop woop we're back
by Richard Baker4/7/2017 8:26:06 AM
At work a stones throw from Headingley - looks like bowl first conditions.
by PhilipGoose4/7/2017 8:27:16 AM
Good morning to one and all! Unfortunately the start of the cricket seasons also means my revision for finals has to step up a notch. Still, I'm delighted that my favourite form of procrastination is back!!
by Alex Thomas4/7/2017 8:27:35 AM
Need to read the rules for the new league, we allowed in season transfers this time?
by Richard Baker4/7/2017 8:29:22 AM
-5 points for a strike rate of 35, minus another 5 points for every additional 5 below that rate. Harsh!
by Richard Baker4/7/2017 8:30:15 AM
Yes, there are transfer in the new league.
by Matt Warwick4/7/2017 8:31:20 AM
In season transfers and a bench too - I must say I don't like the anti-Cowan rules much!
by NemoUKS4/7/2017 8:33:41 AM
Hi folks, a glorious day for the first of the season. Hoping Glos can somehow overcome the severe lack of new signings by getting the upper hand against Kent today. If you'll permit me a shameless plug, we've felt so inspired by the start of the new season that there are 4 new posts up on thejessoptavernview.blogspot.co.uk
by iamWillRussell4/7/2017 8:36:43 AM
Morning all, and welcome back! Unfortunately for the sake of my work I'll not be able to be around apart from lunchtimes during the working week, but hope to see y'all around and about. :) Also I'll no doubt be in the forum after each day's done, so hope to see some of you there.
by StaggerBreaths4/7/2017 8:41:17 AM
Morning all, I hope you have Wintered well?
by nickcricket4/7/2017 8:44:53 AM
Gawd I've massively overspent and still no bench
by Richard Baker4/7/2017 8:47:41 AM
That team Yorkshire have got out is pretty handy Brooks, Sidebottom, Willey, Plunkett, Fisher, Bairstow, Root and Rashid. Tough asking playing the Hampshire International Southern All Stars comprising 6 Overseas!
by nickcricket4/7/2017 8:48:07 AM
I can't tell you how delighted I am to see Hants still in Div 1. What a delightful county, dedicated to bringing through young British talent, and never resorting to spending money from "private" sources. That said, it would be wonderful to see Carbs have a fantastic season - great to see him back healthy and playing
by PT10794/7/2017 8:52:43 AM
6 overseas is a bit harsh. Brad Wheal plays for Scotland!
by Matt Warwick4/7/2017 8:52:44 AM
Brad Wheal - Teams KwaZulu-Natal Under-19s. He is a South African who plays for Scotland.
by nickcricket4/7/2017 8:54:24 AM
Yes, no England players have ever played for KwaZulu-Natal ;)
by NemoUKS4/7/2017 8:56:00 AM
Morning all and Summer is here :)
by Lawrence Payne4/7/2017 8:56:20 AM
Still a British passport. Ah, who cares. I expect much worse over the season on social media!
by Matt Warwick4/7/2017 8:57:06 AM
Pray tell me why England players are not available?
by Lawrence Payne4/7/2017 8:57:44 AM
Some are, but the all formats ones largely have been rested. Jimmy is playing, Cook was available but injured.
by NemoUKS4/7/2017 8:58:21 AM
Fine drop Wheel from the overseas list, its still five out of eleven, Hampshire dropped Alsop of the England Lions fame
by nickcricket4/7/2017 8:58:25 AM
@PT1079 haters gonna hate. I hope we win the CC and paint the trophy in the colours of the South African flag!
by GeorgePotter194/7/2017 8:58:41 AM
The teams announced? Not seen them yet
by Richard Baker4/7/2017 8:59:25 AM
No Root, Bairstow or Rashid for Yorkshire?
by Lawrence Payne4/7/2017 8:59:40 AM
I understand Root and to an extent Rashid but Bairstow has played 3 matches in 2017 and two of them were warmup games. If I see him at another ECB promotional event I might have to write a strongly worded letter
by nickcricket4/7/2017 8:59:52 AM
It's all a conspiracy isn't it?
by Richard Baker4/7/2017 9:00:38 AM
@nickcricket Alsop's in dreadful form. Passed 20 once in last 9 innings which included a hattrick of ducks
by GeorgePotter194/7/2017 9:00:42 AM
Still not over last season at Middlesex yet so yeah :)))