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Durham v Somerset
Chris Rogers will make his debut for his fifth English county at Emirates Riverside, as captain, having been appointed to replace Marcus Trescothick during the winter. Trescothick begins his 24th season, after turning 40 last December. Both the Overton twins are missing – Craig completing a suspension imposed late last season, and Jamie after suffering a minor calf injury in training. Somerset are expected to field four debutants – maybe even five – included a new wicketkeeper, Ryan Davies, who has signed from Kent. Durham will be without Ben Stokes, who is taking a post-World T20 break, and Mark Wood, still not fit after ankle surgery. Middlesex could face both in Durham’s next home fixture.
Hampshire v Warwickshire
Ian Bell, now Warwickshire club captain, remains eager to press his England claims in a powerful Warwickshire batting line-up. James Vince and Liam Dawson will welcome some cricket after playing only one match between them in England’s World T20 campaign. Oddly, Reece Topley, who was dropped midway through the tournament is not sure to make his debut for his new county.
Nottinghamshire v Surrey
Jason Roy, after a high-profile World Twenty20 campaign, plays for Surrey against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. Sam Curran takes advantage of Easter holidays to join his 21-year-old brother Tom for one match only before he returns to Wellington College to complete his A-levels. Mark Footitt, their winter signing from Derbyshire, makes his debut against his first county, but Surrey lack Jade Dernbach, Stuart Meaker and Zafar Ansari through injury.
Nottinghamshire are expected to give a debut to Auatralian pace bowler Jackson Bird. Stuart Broad returns against Lancashire next week, Alex Hales against Yorkshire the week after. James Taylor is also missing because of illness.
Essex v Gloucestershire
England’s Test captain Alastair Cook plays the first four matches of Essex’s campaign, adding to the impression that their Top Six has few rivals in Division One, never mind the second division. Essex, who look strong, give Western Australian dual national Matt Dixon a debut – he is so excited he has expressed ambitions for a “10 to 15-year career” with the county.
Gloucestershire, Royal London Cup winners in 2015, don’t have Australian Michael Klinger available until mid-May. Australian Cameron Bancroft, young Yorkshire loanee seamer Josh Shaw and the former Sussex left-armer Chris Liddle could all debut.
Northamptonshire v Sussex
Sussex, with a new captain and coach in Luke Wright and former spinner Mark Davis, aim to regain their Division One status at the first attempt. Debuts are expected for Ross Taylor and Danny Briggs, the former Hampshire left-arm spinner. Chris Jordan will not play until May after returning from the World T20 with an elbow injury.
Northants look stretched, lacking Monty Panesar back in the squad thanks to a private sponsor, Steven Crook, Rob Newton and Rob Keogh. Jake Libby arrives from Nottinghamshire on loan.
Worcestershire v Kent
Matt Henry debuts for Worcestershire, who were relegated alongside Sussex last season, but Moeen Ali misses the first game after World Twenty20. Kent give a Championship debut to wicketkeeper Adam Rouse with Sam Billings absent at IPL.