When the bookmakers can’t separate two teams, it generally means one of two things. It could be that the two teams are so strong, so in form, that they cannot choose which one will edge the other. Or it could be the complete opposite, that the two teams are in such poor form, are performing so poorly, that deciding who will be slightly better than the other is impossible. The latter applies to Leicestershire and Glamorgan.
For these two teams have begun the season so badly, both comprehensively losing their two matches, that coming to a conclusion as to a potential winner is hugely problematic. In particular, the way the two have batted has been little short of shambolic at times.
The Foxes are yet to bat long enough to see a second new ball, while Glamorgan haven’t lasted longer than 65 overs in any of their four innings thus far. Leicestershire were skittled for just 81 in their opener against Notts, while Glamorgan have found themselves at 26-6, 49-4 and 82-7 in three of their four knocks before staging a lower-order recovery.
Such batting woes can give both bookmakers and county cricket observers some confidence that a draw in this fixture is highly unlikely. Given the inadequacy of the willow-wielding of both sides, a substantial amount of rain is probably required to stand any chance of a stalemate.
This fixture last season came in the final round of matches, and it went the way of Leicestershire, despite the Foxes being bowled out for just 96 in the first innings.
Glamorgan will be desperate to arrest their losing run and Head Coach Robert Croft will be looking to his batsmen to show more resolve than they have so far this season.
The likelihood is that one of these two teams is set to pick up their first win of the campaign, but which way this will go is anyone’s guess.
Ned Eckersley played something of a lone hand for Leicestershire in their defeat at the hands of Gloucestershire last week. His scores of 88 and 85 were both scored in quick-fire fashion, coming from 103 and 96 balls respectively. When you consider his team only totalled 259 and 201, Eckersley’s contribution was invaluable, though ultimately in vain. The keeper will be hoping to replicate his form against Glamorgan, but will hope for a little more assistance from his teammates.
While Leicestershire’s keeper may have found his scoring touch, it is something that has thus far deserted Glamorgan’s glove-man Chris Cooke. The South African-born English keeper has scored a total of just 26 runs in four innings this season. Cooke has a solid first-class average of 35.43, and Glamorgan will be desperate for him to deliver more in the middle order, as they try and fix their batting woes.
Cameron Delport is in line for his first-class debut for Leicestershire after scoring 157 for the second XI last week. All-rounders Zak Chappell and Rob Sayer are pushing for starts, while Charlie Shreck returns from suspension. Skipper Mark Cosgrove misses out due to the suspension issued on the eve of the new season.
Leicestershire squad: Ned Eckersley (c) (wk), Zak Chappell, Dearden, Cameron Delport, Dexter, Lewis Hill, Paul Horton, Dieter Klein, Clint McKay, Mark Pettini, Ben Raine, Rob Sayer, Charlie Shreck, Tom Wells
Jacques Rudolph continues to lead his Glamorgan side and will be desperate to improve his form with the bat. Aneurin Donald showed glimpses of his quality with a well-made half-century last week and will hope to continue in that manner.
Glamorgan squad: Jacques Rudolph (c), Nick Selman, David Lloyd, Colin Ingram, Chris Cooke (wk), Aneurin Donald, Kiran Carlson, Andrew Salter, Marchant De Lange, Michael Hogan, Lukas Carey, Harry Podmore
Weather and conditions
The first three days of this contest look set fair, with plenty of cloud around but also the chance for some sunshine too. Monday, if the game gets that far, could be affected by a few showers.
Date: 21st – 24th April 2017
Ground: Grace Road
Umpires: Nick Cook & Graham Lloyd
Odds (SkyBet): Leicestershire 10/11, Glamorgan 10/11