Such is the domination of international cricket in England, even on this, the start of the final week of county action, the week is somewhat overshadowed by words as to who takes the field.
Down at Lord’s, it’s a tale of two absentees and one, incredibly significant, appearance. Yorkshire have already expressed disappointment of Jonny Bairstow’s absence, a man who has played five days of cricket since this time last month.
With a heavy winter to come, the hierarchy have asked him to rest, while the debate as to the reasons of Adil Rashid’s request for rest continue. Whatever the full reason, he is not playing today.
In the house, however, are Sky cricket. And rightfully so. Initially not booked in, one of county cricket’s most exciting finishes in recent years will, thankfully, have its time in the spotlight.
Middlesex and Yorkshire go head-to-head at Lord’s, with a victory for the hosts securing them the title. A win for Yorkshire would not necessarily secure a third title in succession, with Somerset far from out of the race as they host already-relegated Nottinghamshire. And then we have to think about the draw.
At Taunton, Somerset have to win, that’s a known fact from the off, but the unknown position off a Nottinghamshire side now with nothing to lose leaves a lot to question, particularly with three spinners in their tanks.
It looks a fraction green at Lord’s, perhaps ideal conditions for Steven Finn who has not had his best summer in the whites. Two four-wicket hauls in his last two Championship outings suggests a man heading in the right direction, particularly if he can make good use of the weather.
Yorkshire have packed their line-up with bowlers, giving an extra onus on Adam Lyth to step up to the plate. Overlooked for England’s winter in Bangladesh, a chance to make his mark in the minds of those who matter will certainly be on his agenda.
Another man overlooked is Jack Leach, with the Somerset spinner ripping it up in a breakthrough, looking to finish his campaign on a high, already the second-highest wicket-taker of the season behind Jeetan Patel.
Middlesex: Sam Robson, Nick Gubbins, Nick Compton, Steve Eskinazi, Dawid Malan, James Franklin, John Simpson, Ollie Rayner, Steven Finn, Tim Murtagh
Yorkshire: Adam Lyth, Alex Lees, Gary Ballance, Andrew Gale, Tim Bresnan, Andy Hodd, David Willey, Azeem Rafiq, Jack Brooks, Ryan Sidebottom, Steven Patterson
Somerset: Marcus Trescothick, Tom Abell, Chris Rogers, James Hildreth, Peter Trego, Lewis Gregory, Roelof van der Merwe, Craig Overton, Ryan Davies, Dom Bess, Jack Leach
Nottinghamshire: Steven Mullaney, Jake Libby, Tom Moores, Michael Lumb, Billy Root, Samit Patel, Chris Read, Brett Hutton, Jake Ball, Imran Tahir, Matthew Carter
Yorkshire have elected to bowl first. Somerset have won the toss and will have a bat at Taunton.