After two fairly ordinary nights of T20 cricket, Derbyshire return to the comfort of a format they play rather well tomorrow, when they play against county cricket's perennial under-achievers, Essex, at Chelmsford.
There appears to be an epidemic of side strains running through the seam bowlers at present; first Wayne White, then Ben Cotton and now Tom Taylor ruled out with such an injury. Nevertheless, we will go in with a strong seam attack and the depth of that area of the playing staff is one consolation. Alex Hughes is still out, but Wayne Madsen returns to captain the side.
The Derbyshire squad:
Even without Tillakaratne Dilshan, missing for personal reasons, it is a strong-looking side and I expect an improved performance, one that will hopefully help ease the pain of the T20 performances.
Mark Footitt has a particular reason to bowl well and quickly, as England captain Alastair Cook lines up for his county in a rare county appearance, having made a big hundred in the corresponding game last year. Pre-season they were some people's favourites for promotion, yet sit bottom of the table despite a side that on paper looks the equal of any in the division. They have yet to pick up a batting bonus point at home this year, although the 'sporting' nature of the wickets thus far has been a contributory factor.
Ryan ten Doeschate
James Foster (Captain/Wicket-Keeper),
Nick Browne made two centuries in the game at Chesterfield last year and the batting looks to be their stronger suit, with David Masters injured and Reece Topley on what is effectively a phased return after a back injury. There's no Greg Smith either and the former Derbyshire man hasn't had much success since moving down south. Form has been elusive at times and he has had injury issues to contend with, all the more worrying in the last year of his contract.
We will need to bowl well to get through a batting side that, on paper at least has plenty of talent, but there is enough in the Derbyshire side to win it, if they maintain the intensity of the second and third days at Canterbury. The weather is set fair for the four days, so it is time to kick our four-day season into top gear.
Good luck lads!