This week sees the arrival of day/night games and pink balls in the Specsavers County Championship. Games will start at 2pm, instead of 11am, and lunch will take place around 4pm. An experiment by the ECB, aimed at getting more bodies through gates, at this stage it is only here for this one round of fixtures.
In one of the fixtures, Derbyshire travel to Cardiff to face Glamorgan. Both sides hover somewhere in the middle of the second division, with the hosts looking the stronger of the two.
Glamorgan have banked a couple of wins in the season, but were royally beaten last time out by Durham. They were missing a couple of key men, however, but Chris Cooke and Timm van der Gugten are back. The hosts are a very experienced side, sporting players like Michael Hogan and Colin Ingram, and should be feeling confident despite their recent loss.
Derbyshire are still missing Hardus Viljoen, much to the frustration of everyone concerned no doubt. Problems with his recovery from injury are keeping the South African sidelined for longer than anticipated.
Viljoen’s injury and Connor McKerr’s re-call to Surrey means the Falcons are weak with the ball, with Tony Palladino the only real threat. The batting, however, looks strong enough but the likes of Billy Godleman, Wayne Madsen and Gary Wilson will have a lot of work to do if the bowling is lacking.
It’s difficult to see Derbyshire coming out on top, with injury issues and a tough opposition. Glamorgan simply look a stronger side, having quality with both bat and ball and being on home turf.
At 36 years of age, Michael Hogan is showing no signs of slowing down. His two wickets in the loss at Chester le Street was a slow week, after taking seven against both Durham in the reverse fixture just a couple of weeks earlier and against Worcestershire the following round. The Aussie, who has stepped in as Glamorgan’s four-day captain, always leads the way with the ball and with the visitors being strong with the bat, Hogan’s abilities could be key.
Derbyshire’s wicketkeeper, Gary Wilson, has shown his powerful ability with the bat in the middle order this season. With an average of just over 47, and making half-centuries three times in five Championship games, the Irishman is a solid man to have down the order and is a safe pair of hands behind the stumps to boot.
Glamorgan welcome back Timm van der Gugten from his duties with the Netherlands. His absence was definitely felt at Durham. Chris Cooke, who has been out after receiving a concussion during a net session, also returns to the side.
Derbyshire are still without Hardus Viljoen, whose knee injury is still causing him problems, and Will Davies is also unavailable through injury. Luis Reece returns after an illness and Hamidullah Qadri could make his first-class debut. Jeevan Mendis is named in the squad for what will be his last game for the Falcons this season.
Glamorgan Squad: Michael Hogan (c), Tom Cullen (wk), Jacques Rudolph, Nick Selman, Andrew Salter, Colin Ingram, Aneurin Donald, David Lloyd, Graham Wagg, Chris Cooke, Marchant De Lange, Lukas Carey, Jack Murphy, Owen Morgan, Timm van der Gugten
Derbyshire Squad: Billy Godleman (c), Gary Wilson (wk) Luis Reece, Ben Slater, Shiv Thakor, Wayne Madsen, Alex Hughes, Daryn Smit, Jeevan Mendis, Tom Taylor, Tom Milnes, Tony Palladino, Rob Hemmings, Ben Cotton, Hamidullah Qadri
Weather and conditions
It’s set to move between sunny and cloudy, while being relatively warm, tomorrow in Cardiff. By midweek, however, the rain will move in and there is likely to be quite a few interruptions on Wednesday at least.
Date: 26th – 29th June 2017
Ground: SSE SWALEC, Cardiff
Umpires: Neil Mallender & Alex Wharf
Odds (SkyBet): Glamorgan 4/6; Derbyshire 6/5