Derbyshire has named a fourteen-man squad for the championship match that marks the start of Chesterfield cricket festival, starting tomorrow.
There is again no Hardus Viljoen, nor Will Davis, which most people were expecting, but the game marks the eagerly-awaited county debut of Imran Tahir, who will doubtless form an intriguing spin pairing with Hamidullah Qadri. At opposite ends of the professional cricketer age spectrum, each left the country of their birth, though the latter, talented as he is, has a long way to go to be ranked alongside a modern great like the South African leg-spinner.
Their appearance should see a healthy crowd and they are likely to be rewarded with another debut, that of Gurjit Sandhu, the former Middlesex left-arm seamer.
Sandhu, as I reported last week, has been playing for the second team with some success and has also appeared this summer for Shropshire, where Karl Krikken is the coach and has presumably spoken with Kim Barnett with regard to his ability. A left-arm seam bowler, having been named in the squad I would expect him to play.
The Derbyshire squad:
I don't expect Matt Critchley to play, because he wouldn't get that many overs and you have the one of the world's best exponents of the art in the side. His involvement is good to see, however, especially ahead of the T20, where I expect him to play a regular role. With Wayne Madsen a useful spin option, as we saw at Cardiff, I don't see a scenario where Critch will play here.
I also expect Tom Milnes to miss out, with the final place between Tom Taylor and Sandhu. For me, Ben Slater should play, as otherwise we have a tail that starts at seven. As notoveryet pointed out the other day in the comments, there has been a worrying fragility in the middle order and only when you are very confident in the top six can you go with a tail that would otherwise be worryingly long.
Durham? Well, they are without their England men Mark Wood and Keaton Jennings, so it is probably a good time to play them. They do welcome back pace bowler Usman Arshad for the first time this season, and will arrive at Queen's Park with the following thirteen, captained by the evergreen Paul Collingwood:
Paul Collingwood (c), Cameron Steel, Michael
Richardson, Jack Burnham, Graham Clark, Ryan Pringle, Paul Coughlin,
Stuart Poynter (wk), Matthew Potts, Usman Arshad, Barry McCarthy, Chris
Rushworth, George Harding.
Can we make it two in a row? The weather alone will be a question mark, with rain forecast on Tuesday, so my head tells me a draw is the most likely result here
We'll see, but there promises to be some cricket, which alone is an improvement on last year.
What do you think?