Two sides pushing for the top end of the Division two table meet this week at the 3aaa County ground in Derby, as locals Derbyshire play host to Surrey. Both teams are coming off a loss last time out and both think they are good enough for promotion, but only one side currently sits in a promotion berth.
Surrey may look like the more likely of the two sides, but they are missing some key names this week. Kevin Pietersen is off playing in the CPL, while Kumar Sangakarra and Jason Roy have international duties. Moises Henriques and Rory Burns are still recovering from the injuries sustained in their horrific collision at Arundel.
Nonetheless, Surrey come to town with the likes of Zafar Ansari and Arun Harinath. Both are very capable of causing a bowling side issues. The visitors also come with South African Dean Elgar in tow, who is useful with both bat and ball. A powerful top order batsman, Elgar will add to Surrey’s depth.
Derbyshire’s new overseas player, New Zealander Hamish Rutherford, plays his first Championship game tomorrow, but they are without Tilakaratne Dilshan. Wayne Madsen, who made a century in the defeat to Essex, has boosted the hosts and he always enjoys home surroundings, but there are issues with the bowling that Surrey will be looking to take advantage of.
Despite Surrey being the more fashionable side, Derbyshire are only a short way behind them on the table. The Falcons enjoy a home match and have their captain back in his usual place, which always boosts confidence. Surrey have looked like promotion candidates throughout the season, however, and will not be willing to give that spot up.
Mark Footitt has had a good week, but it’s Wayne White who had tongues wagging at Chelmsford last week. The energy and hostility he showed against Essex, as well as his ability to swing it in all directions, helped him to take six wickets, and with rain in the air this week, he will be looked upon to perform again.
A solid and trustworthy batter at top of the order, Arun Harinath kept Surrey hopes alive in the defeat against Glamorgan last week. A century in both innings was a welcome sight for the side and the left hander will be on the radar of the Falcons’ bowling attack.
Hamish Rutherford makes his LVCC debut for his new side, replacing Tilakaratne Dilshan. Tom Taylor returns from injury and Mark Footitt, after a week in which he was recognised by the England selectors, will appear in the side.
Derbyshire squad: Wayne Madsen (c), Tom Poynton (wk), Ben Slater, Billy Godleman, Chesney Hughes, Hamish Rutherford, Shiv Thakor, Wayne White, Tony Palladino, Tom Taylor, Mark Footitt
Kevin Pietersen is away playing in the Caribbean Premier League. Kumar Sangakarra is absent through his duties with Sri Lanka while Jason Roy is off fulfilling his England duties. Dean Elgar is set to make his Championship debut, Tim Linley returns from a loan spell with Sussex and Luke Fletcher is with the squad on loan from Nottinghamshire.
Surrey squad: Gareth Batty (c), Gary Wilson (wk), Zafar Ansari, James Burke, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Dean Elgar, Luke Fletcher, Ben Foakes, Arun Harinath, Aneesh Kapil, Tim Linley, Dominic Sibley
Weather and conditions: It’s going to be cloudy and cool for most of the week, with the odd spot of rain or darkness interfering with play.
Date: 21st-24th June
Ground: The 3aaa County Ground at Derby
Umpires: Nick Cook & Peter Hartley
Odds (Skybet): Derbyshire 6/5, Surrey 8/13