Consecutive games against South Africa is a rare bonus at this stage, but its what we have with Leicestershire then Northamptonshire.
The latter are a funny side who can bat brilliantly on their day, but it can all go horribly wrong.
More on the teams tomorrow, but what I'd like to see is a change or two.
For one, I'd play Stubbo instead of Dan Birch. I'm not sold on the latter and think that Stubbings offers more at the top of the order, even if he's not gone on to a big score this season. Maybe this is the game, against one of his former counties, where Chris Rogers goes on to a big score. Wavell is a shoo-in at four and I'd have thought Dom Telo would have to play at three. There really is no other option, with John Sadler out of nick. Clarke will go five and we'll keep our fingers crossed for his form of Surrey (earlier) days.
From there it gets tricky. Pipe, Wagg and Langeveldt are certainties but the rest is up in the air.
- Is Smith fit to bowl? If so, he could play as all rounder, if not, do we bring in Doshi as second spinner and shorten the batting? Or do we rest Jon Clare and go with three seamers (plus Wavell) and two spinners and stay with Smith?
- Do we bring back Kevin Dean for Clare? Again, it would shorten the batting, but the youngster isn't bowling as well as he did early season (nor batting well) and would benefit from a break
The main problem is that no one in the middle order is in prime form. Wavell is doing well enough, but we can easily go from 70-0 to 100-5. I don't think we can do much about that this year, but hopefully we might see an improvement on the harder, drier tracks of late summer.
Mind you, that wicket at Derby isn't going to attract players from other counties. Seamers yes, but no self-respecting batsman with international ambitions will move somewhere that has both lateral movement and variable bounce. I am in favour, as I said earlier, of this wort of wicket over the feather beds, but there should be a middle ground.
For what its worth, my team for Northampton would be:
Win the toss, bat first, score 500 then bowl 'em out with spinners. Easy. Of course, as that eminent "cricket " critic Buddy Holly once said, in reference to our batting - that'll be the day!