Vitality County Championship Match Preview: Northamptonshire v Gloucestershire

Vitality County Championship Match Preview: Northamptonshire v Gloucestershire

Northants and Gloucestershire meet this week, both wanting to get their season up and running

These two teams had a break last week so should be well rested, obviously a key part of professional sport as highlighted by Joe Root this week. Can we expect improved performances?

Certainly Gloucestershire will want to lift themselves off the bottom of the table and should at least be able to achieve that with Derbyshire not in action. So far they have had a wash out, two draws and a loss to the Division Two leaders Sussex. They held out for a draw in the last match against Middlesex, Ollie Price providing the main resistance. He along with Miles Hammond (the county’s leading run scorer so far) and James Bracey have made solid starts to the season, while Cameron Bancroft’s 154 runs at 25.66 will have been a disappointment. He has not had the best of fortune in county cricket and Gloucestershire will be looking for an improvement given he is with them for the whole season.

They do have two of the quicker bowlers in county cricket, Marchant de Lange and Ajeet Singh Dale, de Lange taking 6/49 in the Middlesex first innings. They also have one of the more dangerous spinners, Zafar Gohar, who almost rescued them against Sussex with runs as well as wickets, but was unable to take the field in the last match, injuring himself during the warm up.

Meanwhile Northamptonshire have recorded four draws thanks to some strong batting performances, but rather lacklustre bowling efforts. They have conceded 478/9, 553/2, 271 and 452/8 in the four innings they have bowled. The ever reliable Ben Sanderson leads the way with 12 wickets at 29.41, but the attack lacks any real bite. Chris Tremain has now departed and Indian pace bowler Siddharth Kaul comes in for three matches. George Scrimshaw made his debut for his new county against Leicestershire, taking 2/85.

While the bowlers have been made to toil, the Northants batters have been equally harsh on the opposition attacks, accumulating 14 batting bonus points. All the batters have been scoring runs and it will be particularly satisfying to see a productive Ricardo Vasconcelos back at the top of the order alongside Emilio Gay.

While there were 1105 runs scored for the loss of only eight wickets in the game between Northants and Middlesex, Northants were denied victory by a wash out on the final day against Glamorgan a week later, so a result is possible at the County Ground. The Gloucestershire attack looks the more likely to take 20 wickets, but the Northants batters are full of confidence and the odds remain on a draw.

Key players:

Emilio Gay has made a bright start to the 2024 season with 389 runs at 77.80, including a double century against Middlesex. He is Northants top run scorer so far and at just 24-years-old he has plenty of cricket in front of him. Northants will be hoping he can now push on and build on his current first class average of 33.55.

Marchant de Lange demonstrated what he is capable of in the last game, his six wickets ripping through the Middlesex batting. He is now employed as a local player having previously been at Glamorgan and then Somerset as an overseas signing. A popular player in the squads he has been involved with, he bowls with serious pace and when he gets the radar right he can make life uncomfortable for county batters. However he does have a tendency to leak runs, particularly when he gets hung up with short pitched deliveries.

Team News:

Siddharth Kaul comes into the squad and should make his debut for Northants.

Northamptonshire squad (probable): Luke Procter (c), George Bartlett, Michael Finan, Emilio Gay, Siddharth Kaul, Rob Keogh, Lewis McManus (wk), Karun Nair, Alex Russell, James Sales, Ben Sanderson, George Scrimshaw, Ricardo Vasconcelos, Saif Zaib

For Gloucestershire, Matt Taylor has been sidelined by a toe injury and Gohar’s fitness is unclear.

Gloucestershire squad (from): Graeme van Buuren (c), Zaman Akhtar, Cameron Bancroft, James Bracey (wk), Ben Charlesworth, Ajeet Singh Dale, Marchant de Lange, Chris Dent, Zafar Gohar, Dom Goodman, Miles Hammond, Joe Phillips, Ollie Price, Tom Price, Josh Shaw

Weather and Conditions

While the weekend is set fair, there is a chance of showers on the first and last days.

While the weather is warming up, there is still going to be some dampness in the ground. Whether there is a result may depend on how much grass is left on the pitch and that will obviously favour the side bowling first.

Date: 10th May 2024

Time: 11:00

Ground: County Ground, Northampton


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