Sportsmen will often tell you that they don’t look at league tables. Quite often it’s simply not true and if Nottinghamshire’s players have afforded themselves a glance at the Division One table, they will be rightfully satisfied with what they see.
Admittedly, the table carries little weight just three games in but it ought to serve as a boost in confidence for newly-promoted Notts who stand proudly at the top.
They have picked up two victories from their three games, with defeat at Headingley the only blemish on their record thus far. All three of their matches have come away from home, something that would normally be considered more of a challenge. But with the no-toss rule in place during April conditions that favour bowling, many will say that Notts have had the rub of the green by playing all their games away.
That said, Notts bowlers have really caught the eye. Jake Ball, pressing hard for an England recall, has more wickets than anyone else in the country and has been backed up by Harry Gurney, Luke Fletcher and Stuart Broad in ensuring they are able to consistently take the wickets needed in the top flight.
This week Notts return to Trent Bridge to face a Hampshire side who can also be fairly content with their opening to the campaign. Their much-lauded batting lineup has fared relatively well, with Hashim Amla, James Vince, Jimmy Adams and Sam Northeast all making runs – though the latter is now missing with a broken finger.
And with Kyle Abbott and Fidel Edwards demonstrating the value of their international experience with the ball, Hampshire have proved their ability to mix it with the strongest sides in the division. A run-affected draw against reigning champions Essex last week was a good response to defeat at Surrey. Their one-victory so far has come against a struggling Worcestershire.
Hampshire’s batsmen will need to prove their ability to handle Notts’ in-form bowling unit, which will present skipper James Vince with an opportunity to earn his Test match spot for the upcoming Pakistan series.
The performances of Notts keeper Tom Moores have caught the eye of county cricket observers and the world’s best football keeper – Manchester United’s David De Gea. Moores earned the Spaniard’s attention with a spectacular catch last month and his performance against Worcestershire last week, where he notched a career-best 43, has continued to help the feeling that the 21-year-old has a bright future ahead of him.
— David de Gea (@D_DeGea) April 24, 2018
Jimmy Adams brings vast experience to the top of the Hampshire order and he found form last week against Essex with a patient 87 in a game decimated by the weather. With a young opening partner in 21-year-old Joe Weatherley, the value of Adams’ experience cannot be understated and Hampshire need him to withstand the pressure that will be applied by Ball and co.
Notts are likely to remain unchanged from their dominant innings victory over Worcestershire. Luke Fletcher was among the wickets, collecting career-best figures of 5-27 and will be a key part of their bowling ranks again, while Samit Patel provides the spin option.
Nottinghamshire squad: Steven Mullaney (c), Jake Libby, Chris Nash, Stuart Broad, Riki Wessels, Harry Gurney, Matt Milnes, Luke Fletcher, Samit Patel, Tom Moores (wk), Ross Taylor, Jake Ball, Billy Root
Hampshire are yet to confirm their squad for this one, but are likely to field the same side that took on Essex last week.
Hampshire squad: TBA
Weather and Conditions
It’s set to be clear and sunny for all four days at Trent Bridge, a ground at which the ball normally swings. It is often a good batting pitch as well though, which should mean Hampshire have an interesting decision when it comes to the toss.
Date: 4th – 7th May 2018
Ground: Trent Bridge
Odds (SkyBet): Nottinghamshire 8/11, Hampshire 11/10