These two sides have had to wait an extra week to raise the curtain on their 2016 County Championship season. Perennially languishing in Division Two, both sides will be looking to kick on this season after small but important improvements in four-day cricket last summer.
Glamorgan made a tremendous unbeaten start to the Championship season in 2015 and were still in contention for promotion at the start of August. But a habit of drawing too many games and a poor last six weeks, saw them slip away from the promotion places.
They will be looking to replicate their early season form once again in 2016. The visit of Leicestershire will surely represent their best chance of doing so. The Midlands side run of 37 Championship matches without victory was well documented. Despite ending that run last June, the Foxes have still finished bottom of the table for the last three years.
They will be boosted, however, by the availability of their new signings. There were some small shoots of recovery at Grace Road last summer, and they’ll be hoping that a blend of local young talent and canny county pro’s can make them more competitive this year.
Leicestershire captain Mark Cosgrove is returning to his former county, and will have the option to bowl first without a toss on Sunday. The new rule appeared to have little affect on the first round of fixtures, and it’ll be interesting to see how it pans out over the course of the season.
It may be obvious, but Michael Hogan will need to perform once again with the red ball if Glamorgan are to challenge for the single promotion spot in Division Two. The towering Australian seamer had a great winter with Western Australia and finished his spell with an 8-wicket match against Queensland. In April conditions on what can sometimes be a sluggish pitch in Cardiff, Hogan may just run through a side or two before attention turns to the one-day game.
If Leicestershire are to start seriously competing in the four-day arena, they will need their young opener Angus Robson to pick up where he left off last season. The 24-year-old has been in good form during pre-season as he follows up on the 1079 runs he picked up during the 2015 campaign. For a side not used to winning, a strong opening partnership is vital and Robson will hope to form an understanding with the experienced Paul Horton.
There are no real surprises from a Glamorgan squad that is one of the smallest in the country. The squad has a clean bill of health – Van Der Gugten and Podmore could both debut.
Glamorgan squad: Jacques Rudolph (captain), Mark Wallace (wk), Will Bragg, Colin Ingram, Chris Cooke, Anuerin Donald, David Lloyd, Graham Wagg, Craig Meschede, Andrew Salter, Timm Van Der Gugten, Michael Hogan, Harry Podmore
A stronger line-up on paper than Leicstershire have had in the four-day arena for a long time. The experienced batting trio of Horton, Dexter, and Pettini could all play for the Foxes for the first time.
Leicestershire squad: Mark Cosgrove (captain), Niall O’Brien (wk), Paul Horton, Angus Robson, Neil Dexter, Mark Pettini, Aadil Ali, Jigar Naik, Wayne White, Ben Raine, Clint McKay, Zak Chappell, Charlie Shreck.
Weather and conditions
The weather is set fair for all four days in Cardiff
Date: 17th -20th April
Ground: SSE SWALEC, Cardiff
Umpires: Steve Garratt and Steve O’Shaughnessy
Odds (SkyBet): Glamorgan 8/13, Leicestershire 5/4