Have you Wintered well? Part 6: Leicestershire

Have you Wintered well? Part 6: Leicestershire

At a time when we are all missing the cricket season, our writers endeavour to keep you happy with some county-by-county information on Winter activity. Rob Sutton has the news from Grace Road. Please note that all information given is correct at time of publication.

Leicestershire Cricket
Picture courtesy of the ECB on Youtube, with thanks

After another season of propping up the tables in all three formats, the long suffering Leicestershire faithful were faced with a familiar winter of seeing one of their star players disappear up the M1 to join Nottinghamshire. 

Mohammed Abbas was the latest Fox who now calls Trent Bridge home having enjoyed two seasons at Grace Road taking 78 wickets in 19 Championship matches. 

He will be prove tricky to replace but the delay to the domestic season did at least spare Leicestershire from being tormented by him on a tricky April pitch with Notts due to be the first opponents of the season.

Other departures included Neil Dexter, who endured a rotten 2019, and Ateeq Javid. Given the financial constraints at Grace Road, incomings have been quiet. 

George Rhodes has been signed from Worcestershire and featured in the Rapids’ successful run to the T20 trophy in 2018. He will offer a genuine all-round option for Paul Nixon, something that has been lacking at Grace Road since Ben Raine departed for Durham. 

South African opener Janneman Malan remains, at this stage, the overseas player for both the T20 Blast and the latter stages of the Championship. Like so many things, the contracts of overseas players remains up in the air due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Younger brother of test opener Pieter, Malan caught the eye in just his second one day international by striking 129 not out in March against Australia. 

There has been a change of captaincy at Grace Road with Colin Ackermann now in charge of all three formats. The 29-year old had led the Foxes in white ball cricket but will now take over from Paul Horton as Championship captain. 

Paul Nixon though has made it clear though that young, local talent will be the primary focus for the county throughout these uncertain times. Hasan Azad was undoubtedly the star of the 2019 season. His tally of 1,189 runs last summer was the second highest (behind Dominic Sibley) of both divisions. He will hold the key to success in whatever form the County Championship takes this season. 

Harry Dearden caught the eye in the One-Day Cup last summer while Harry Swindells looks to have stepped up to finally end the debate over who will open the batting with Mark Cosgrove in T20 cricket. Ensuring those three players are Leicestershire players for the long term will be high on the priority list.

Arguably, the biggest news of the winter though was the appointment of Sean Jarvis as CEO. The boyhood Leicestershire fan has joined after helping to mastermind Huddersfield Town’s promotion to the Premier League. Talk about being thrown in at the deep end. 

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