Vitality County Championship Match Preview: Leicestershire v Glamorgan

Vitality County Championship Match Preview: Leicestershire v Glamorgan

MIr Hamza

Can the Foxes get their first win of the season this week?

Leicestershire now have six draws as a result of a strong batting line up that sees them with the most batting bonus points in either division. They sit third in Division Two, but without wins they are likely to drift away from one of the two promotion spots. Their top three wicket takers are Scott Currie, Ben Mike and Tom Scriven with 14, 12 and eight, but the problem is the cost of each of their wickets, with averages of 35.42, 45.83 and 62.62 respectively. Rehan Ahmed has taken six wickets at 57.66. Josh Hull, who has been talked about in the discussions about the future England pace attack, played his first match in the last round and went wicketless, while Chris Wright remains unavailable.

The good news for the Foxes is their batting, led by Peter Handscomb with 445 runs at 63.57. Their leading run scorer from 2023, Rishi Patel also found some form against Gloucestershire, posting 117 and 51. The ability of the batting to grind out the draws was highlighted in the last round when, after allowing Gloucestershire to amass 706/6 declared, they held out for 227.3 overs with three wickets in hand.

Meanwhile Glamorgan have been hot and cold, lucky to get away with draws against Yorkshire and Northamptonshire, while beating the Division Two leaders Sussex. In their last match against Middlesex, they were outplayed for three days before Mason Crane got to work on a helpful day four pitch and nearly spun them to victory with his second fifer of the season. He currently has 20 wickets at 32.35 and it will be an interesting contest between him and Ahmed this week. Glamorgan have struggled to bowl sides out, registering 12 draws last season, but they should have Timm van der Gugten back following a successful outing with the second team last week. In his absence James Harris has been bowling at a brisk pace and putting in probably his best performances since returning to Wales. He has 17 wickets at a slightly expensive 36.17. Mir Hamza was rested for the last round to allow both Marnus Labuschagne and Colin Ingram to play and both registered centuries. Ingram is the leading run scorer in either division with 752 at 94.00, including four centuries, but he may have to stand down if Glamorgan are to field their strongest bowling line up. Jamie McIlroy has had a disappointing start to the season with just three wickets at 86.33 and he may make way. The strongest seam attack would be Hamza, Harris, van der Gugten and Andy Gorvin, but Harris has played all six matches so far and at 34 years of age, may need a rest.

The Glamorgan batting has been inconsistent, often failing in the first innings. This is highlighted by captain Sam Northeast, who lies third in the Division Two run scorers with 586 from 12 innings (four not outs). However 477 of those runs have come from two innings and there have been six completed innings of less than 20.

When these two sides met last summer both games ended in stalemate, the second match at Sophia Garden affected by weather. All four first innings scores passed the 400 mark. Given the relative strengths of the two sides the same outcome is most likely, but if Glamorgan can get runs on the board and avoid the temptation to play both Labuschagne and Ingram, their attack might be able to put some pressure on Leicestershire.

Key players

Leicestershire is Peter Handscomb‘s fourth county, having previously enjoyed stints at Durham, Yorkshire and Middlesex. He scored 681 runs in 10 Championship games last year at an average of 45.40 and leads Leicestershire’s run scoring so far this season. It is just over a year since his last Test for Australia, but undoubtedly the 33-year-old will not have given up hope of a recall if he keeps churning out the runs. He certainly did that in the last Sheffield Shield season, ending as second highest run scorer, with 778 at 48.62.

This will be Mir Hamza‘s last game for Glamorgan and he will want to finish on a high, especially after missing the last round. After a slow start to the season, he was integral to the win over Sussex, taking seven wickets in the match. His left arm seam is not bowled at express pace, but he can get the ball to nibble about and should pose a threat, especially if Glamorgan can apply pressure at the other end, with the return of van der Gugten.

Team news

It was a tough outing for the Leicestershire bowlers against Gloucestershire and we await news of whether there were any resultant niggles. The bonus is that they have had their feet up since Saturday.

Leicestershire squad (from): Lewis Hill (c), Rehan Ahmed, Sol Budinger, Ben Cox (wk), Scott Currie, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Josh Hull, Louis Kimber, Ben Mike, Rishi Patel, Matt Salisbury, Tom Scriven, Harry Swindells

Van der Gugten should return while Harris may be rested. Hamza should come back in unless the desire to play both Ingram and Labuschagne is irresistible.

Glamorgan squad (from): Sam Northeast (c), Tom Bevan, Eddie Byrom, Kiran Carlson, Chris Cooke (wk), Mason Crane, Dan Douthwaite, Andy Gorvin, Mir Hamza, James Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Jamie McIlory, Billy Root, Timm van der Gugten

Weather and Conditions

The forecast is for a dry first two days and then light rain for the second half of the match.

Given the runs that have been scored at the County Ground this summer, expect the captain winning the toss to want to bat first.

Date: 25th May 2024

Time: 11:00

Ground: Uptonsteel County Ground, Leicester


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