Thanks to 'Anon; for asking two questions - where do Usman Khawaja and Martin Guptill fit into the batting line up and what will be the line up for the first match.
For me, the first part is easy. Both should bat in the place that they are accustomed. Guptill opens for New Zealand and should do for us, Khawaja bats three as a rule and should do likewise.
Notwithstanding comments about their lack of experience in this country, both players will be happier doing what they do well and what caused John Morris to sign them.
The first team? That's more difficult and will be affected by pre-season form, fitness, how people look in the nets, the weather and the wicket. My guess is that it will be something along these lines for Gloucestershire at Bristol:
While the claims of Redfern, Borrington and Lineker will ebb and flow through the season, the batting line-up features the most experienced men who probably have the strongest claim at this stage.
As for the bowlers, Palladino and Turner have not moved to Derbyshire to be reserves so will want to stake an early claim on a place. Yet for balance the side really needs a fit and firing Jon Clare, who adds depth to the batting. Tim Groenewald would otherwise be number eight, which is maybe too high despite some dogged performances with the bat. Palladino, Turner and Footitt are bowlers of talent, but any runs from them would be a bonus.
Jake Needham? He'll have his opportunities as the season progresses, but Bristol in April isn't likely to be a spinner's wicket. We'll miss Steffan Jones bullish batting and positive attitude too, but I think we'll see him in the T20 and some Pro 40 games. If things go to plan, John Morris will want to rotate his seamers and keep them fresh, part of the rationale in bringing in new blood in that area.
I'll do prospects a little nearer the season, but I see no reason why a young squad of talent cannot be competitive, enjoy their cricket and win a few games. The latter becomes a habit and if we can gather a head of steam, who knows what might happen?