Have you wintered well? Part 13: Essex

Have you wintered well? Part 13: Essex

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. Oli Lathrope has the Essex news. Please note that all information given is correct at time of publication.

Essex cricket
Photo courtesy of ECB on Youtube, with thanks

Essex got their 2020 season up and running with a three-wicket win over Warwickshire last week. Of course it did not come on the pitch, but in the Quarantine Cup, which sees county professionals compete on the Cricket 19 video game.

It should come as no surprise, considering winning has become somewhat of a habit in Chelmsford in recent years.

A magical final week of the season saw the Eagles emerge victorious on T20 Finals Day. This, before winning Division One of the County Championship for the second time in three years – securing a dramatic draw on the final day of the season against Somerset.

The Blast triumph almost came from nowhere, after they snuck into quarter-finals with just four wins in the South Group.

However, they were excellent in the knockout stages, beating defending champions, Worcestershire in a cracking final at Edgbaston, Simon Harmer hitting the winning runs from the final ball of the match.

The spinner was also instrumental in Essex’s Championship victory. 

He took 83 wickets, 12 more than any other bowler in Division One, and his efforts throughout the summer saw him named as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year.

There were also vital contributions from Sir Alastair Cook, Jamie Porter and Tom Westley, but it was a real team effort to help secure another Championship crown.

Whether Essex get the chance to defend both of their titles remains to be seen. As of writing this piece, only the first two months of the season have been postponed, but that is likely to be extended well into the summer. 

Whenever cricket can be played, Essex will have to do it without the services of Ravi Bopara.  The all-rounder was excellent in the Eagles’ run to the T20 Blast title, but he was unable to agree a contract with the club, bringing a 17-year spell at Chelmsford to an end.

He will be playing his cricket with Sussex this summer, and it is bound to feel strange not seeing him in an Essex shirt. 

There was more change to come, with Westley announced as the new captain in the County Championship and One-Day Cup – replacing Ryan Ten Doeschate, who decided to stand down.

Like many sporting organisations, Essex have not been immune to the consequences of Covid-19. 

All playing staff and the majority of non-playing staff were put on furlough earlier this month, and Peter Siddle’s overseas contract has been deferred until 2021.

The status of Adam Zampa and Moises Henriques – both signed as overseas players for the T20 Blast – remains unclear at this stage.

In a season of so much uncertainty, one thing is for certain: Essex are a team of winners, and they will surely be contenders again in 2020.


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