After the longest off-season in history, we finally live county cricket back with us this Saturday. Nottinghamshire welcome their local rivals Derbyshire who make the short journey down the A52 for the first match in this new competition in this abridged season.
The two sides would have been playing each other in First Class competition this season, irrespective of COVID-19, following Nottinghamshire’s abject performance and relegation in the 2019 County Championship.
There are new faces in both squads, Nottinghamshire having signed Hasseb Hameed from Lancashire, Peter Trego from Somerset and Tom Barber from Middlesex, adding strength to a squad that needed freshening up following a poor showing in 2019.
Derbyshire have added Michael Cohen from South Africa and Ben Aitchison from Minor County Cheshire. They have also signed batter Tom Wood, who has previously played for the club from League cricket in Derby.
It will be interesting to see how sides fair under the new playing regulations for cricket during COVID-19. Especially interesting will be how the lack of crowd affects performance. Home field advantage may well be diminished by the lack of a crowd.
With only 5 games to be played, a good start will be vital to any side that wants to reach the final at Lords. Notts supporters will expect their side to get there, Derbyshire supporters will fancy their side to get there and may cause some shocks along the way.
In the modern game, having more than one string to your bow is essential and in Steven Mullaney Nottinghamshire CCC have a player who has about as many strings as possible. He can bat anywhere in the top and middle order, often opening, but with the signing of Hameed he may well drop down the order a little.
He also offers medium pace bowling, which can tie opposition batters down especially with an older ball. Last season he scored 694 runs and took 13 wickets too, which may not sound a monumental contribution. However when you factor in his captaincy as well, it is difficult measure that contribution.
If you speak to Nottinghamshire players or supporters that contribution is invaluable to Nottinghamshire’s success.
He opens the batting, often opening the bowling and he’s not even the coach’s son. Throw in being a demon in the field and it is easy to see why Luis Reece is key to Derbyshire’s success. He scored 785 runs last season with two 100s and one 50, coupled with 52 wickets. He and everyone else associated with the club will be hoping he can recreate the same form, if not better, this season too.
If he can, Derbyshire’s chances of victory and progression in the competition will be greatly enhanced.
The home side will be without Stuart Broad who is away with England in the bubble, and the expected overseas signing will also not be available all season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Apart from those omissions, Peter Moores will have a full squad to select from.
Nottinghamshire Squad: TBA
Derbyshire, like Nottinghamshire will be without their overseas signing throughout the season. They will also be without Ravi Rampaul who is still in the Caribbean, although he should be available for the second round of matches. Apart from those two missing players David Houghton has a full squad to pick from.
Derbyshire Squad: TBA
Weather and Conditions
The weather looks set fair for the first two days and the fourth day. Monday, however, may be a day of card playing, crossword completing and book reading for the players, as rain is forecast all day.
With no cricket at Trent bridge so far this season, the groundsman will have had plenty of time to produce the pitch, which if history repeats itself should be excellent and if a day is lost to rain then a draw may well be the most likely result.
Dates : Saturday 1st to Tuesday 4th August
Time : 11am
Ground: Trent Bridge
ODDs (Sky Bet): for the overall competition, Nottinghamshire 10/1 Derbyshire 25/1