Player to watch out for in County Championship


Apr 3, 2011
Graham Onions
Michael Carberry
Simon Kerrigan
Samit Patel
James Hildreth
Monty Panesar
Chris Woakes
Moeen Ali
Adil Rashid

Greg Smith
Ravi Bopara
Michael Powell
Kane Williamson
Rob Key
James Taylor
Chris Rogers
Stephen Peters
Tom Maynard
Why is Adam Lyth not in your list? He had a superb season last year and was on the brink of getting selected for the Ashes tour.
where is Azhar::p
thats essex guy whats his name he does always well.
Moeen Ali Signs New Worcestershire Contract
19 April 2011

Worcestershire batsman Moeen Ali has signed a new two-year contract extension that will keep him at New Road until the end of the 2013 season.

The new contract comes after a prolific 2010 season in which he scored 1,260 first-class runs and more than 800 in other competitions, going on to represent the England Lions. bet365 make Worcestershire 40/1 to win the CB40 this season

"I have been at the club since 2007 and thoroughly enjoyed my time and have been looked after very well," Ali said.

"I am grateful for the opportunities I have had which have allowed me to develop both my batting and bowling in all forms of the game and I hope to progress further over the coming years and help the Club achieve future success."

Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes added: "Moeen played exceptionally well during 2010 and played a major part in our 4 day promotion push. The development of younger players is paramount to the Club's future and I am delighted to have a talented all round cricketer, such as Moeen, commit his future to the Club."
Ben Stokes - 19 year old plays for Durham. Has had an impressive start to his county career
Amjad eyes England recall

19 April 2011


Sussex new boy Amjad Khan has no regrets about moving from Kent and hopes it will be the springboard he needs to return to the international set-up.

The pace bowler’s solitary Test came in 2009 during England’s tour of the West Indies at the Queen’s Park Oval, where he failed to shine with match figures of 1-122.

He played an international Twenty20 soon after but has not been called upon since. However, Amjad has not been deterred and believes that a change of scenery will improve his chances of regaining an England place.

The 30-year-old, who spent 10 years with Kent, is also confident that his move to Hove, where he will lead the attack, will help to fulfil another ambition of winning domestic titles.

He told “I think it was the right time to leave. I’m desperate to win trophies and I’m equally as desperate to get back into the England set-up.

“If you look at Sussex’s history, they’ve won God knows how many trophies in the last 10 years and they’ve produced a lot of England players, so it was a no-brainer to come here.

“There’s some new challenges here that there definitely wouldn’t have been at Kent and, as a person, that develops you, so it really is exciting.”

Amjad is at a loss to explain the reasons for Sussex’s innings-and-55-run defeat to Lancashire in the first match of their LV= County Championship campaign, but he is determined to see improvements when they take on Durham this week.

“I think we’re looking to win and can challenge in all forms of the game,” he said. “We’ve had a perfect start to pre-season, couldn’t have done anything differently, so there’s no excuse. I think we have to re-evaluate, figure out where it went wrong and then look forward."

Amjad is also full of praise for Sussex cricket manager Mark Robinson, who wants the Denmark-born bowler to show his pedigree in the sorter formats of the game as well as act as a mentor to the up-and-coming youngsters.

Amjad added: “Mark Robinson has been brilliant this winter and sort of said, ‘We want you to play all forms and we want you to lead the attack. Some of the younger guys, you’ve got to take under your wing and share your experience'. I’ve tried to do that and I think I’ve done pretty well.

“It shows that he backs you really and we worked on a lot of specific stuff this winter. I worked very closely with Mark Robinson, especially with the white ball stuff, bowling up front, bowling at the death, gameplans - so hopefully that can translate to good performances in one-day performances especially.
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Samit Patel stars with a century as Notts get on top


Samit Patel made an eye-catching start to the season as he hit a gritty ton at Trent Bridge to build champions Nottinghamshire a first innings lead.

Replying to Hampshire's 218, England hopeful Patel hit 116 for Notts to help his side reach 293-9 by the end of a weather-hit second day's play.

The cornerstone of Notts' efforts was a 148-run sixth-wicket stand between Patel and captain Chris Read (54).

Seamer David Griffiths was Hampshire's best bowler, taking 5-72.

Patel made full use of Hampshire's generosity, having been dropped four times in the slips, including first ball by visiting skipper Dominic Cork.

Griffiths, the pick of the Hampshire attack, was the sufferer in chief.

But Patel made the most of his good fortune in posting his first hundred since last July to send an early season notice to England coach Andy Flower.

Having twice been snubbed by England over his lack of fitness, Patel has worked hard over the winter to prove he still has an international future.

BBC Radio Nottinghamshire's Dave Bracegirdle gives his Trent Bridge verdict:

"Although poor weather again spoilt the action, this was a day when the Spirit of Cricket slogan was well and truly embraced - as well as being the day that Notts' Academy player Adeel Shafique will never forget.

"The youngster was allowed to keep wicket for Hampshire during the whole of the morning session after Nic Pothas was ruled out with a calf injury.

"While Michael Bates was summoned from Southampton the home side offered a solution and, after the ECB and the umpire sanctioned the request, Shafique took to the field wearing Kabir Ali's first team shirt.

"A gritty knock from Samit Patel ensured that the reigning champions weren't totally blown away but he had some good fortune.

"This is very much 'Game On' - providing the weather improves over the weekend!"
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Farveez Maharoof ready to battle for Lancashire place

Chris Ostick

April 15, 2011

Farveez Maharoof is hoping his spell at Lancashire will help him get back in the Sri Lanka side.

But he admits he first faces a fight just to get into the Red Rose line-up.

Lancashire’s new overseas player netted with the squad for the first time on Thursday as he begins his season-long stint at Old Trafford.

The bowling all-rounder, who missed the opening LV= County Championship win over Sussex last week because of visa delays, has six days to prove he deserves a place in the team for the clash with Somerset at Liverpool, which starts on Wednesday.

And Maharoof knows that won’t be easy.

“I’ve got a fight on my hands to get in the side,” said the 26-year-old. “If I get a chance, I need to do well.

“The playing conditions back home are totally different and it will take some time to get used to them but I should pick it up pretty soon and the English conditions suit me.

“I’m delighted to have this opportunity because I have never played county cricket before.

“I have come here before the end of the season in Sri Lanka because playing for Lancashire, which has such a great history and where great players have played, was too good an opportunity to turn down.

“So when I got the offer I had to make myself free.”

Being new to county cricket, Maharoof, who spoke to former Red Rose overseas star Muttiah Muralitharan about the club before joining, admits he will struggle to play in all of Lancashire’s matches this season because of the gruelling schedule.

“I might need some breaks,” he said. “It is not easy to play the whole season.

“I am sure the management will assess my workload and will do the right thing for me to be 100 per cent prepared before a game.”

Maharoof hasn’t played for Sri Lanka since a knee injury in 2009 ruled him out for six months.

But with the World Cup finalists touring England this summer, he is keen to prove a point to the selectors.

He said: “The fact Sri Lanka are touring here this summer is one of the reasons for playing at Lancashire, and the Sri Lanka A team are here too. You never know, I might get a break.

“I am due to be with Lancashire all season, but if I get called up to the Sri Lanka side I will have to go."

Apparently Maharoof as per Sangakara has improved a lot in his batting. He has become an opening batsman in his club side in SriLanka. He has been working really hard to make a comeback.
Chopra hits double top,313785,EN.html


Varun Chopra claimed scoring a double century for Warwickshire against Somerset was one of the finest moments of his career, before joking that “the only way is down now”.

Chopra’s stunning 210 was the cornerstone of Warwickshire’s mammoth 642 at Taunton, while Chris Woakes played his part with a run-a-ball 109.

They helped the visitors take charge of their LV= County Championship Division One clash - against the side tipped by many to become champions, no less - before moving into a seemingly impregnable position by reducing Somerset to 147 for six after two days.

Chopra, a former England Under-19s captain, scored a hundred and a half-century on his championship debut in 2006 for Essex, with whom he won the Friends Provident Trophy two years later.

However, he ranks his contribution over the last two days amongst his proudest achievements.

“It’s up there with my debut as the highlight of my career,” Chopra told “It’s a career-best; I loved every minute of it but I suppose the only way is down now.

Varun Chopra

In making 210 at Taunton, Varun Chopra has scored more than half as many runs in one innings as he managed in the whole of the 2010 season

“It’s pleasing for both the team and myself to get off to a good start in the championship season. Once I got in I decided to keep batting for as long as I could.”

Chopra is more than halfway to matching the 409 runs he scored in nine games last season, his first since leaving his native Essex for Edgbaston.

Despite beginning the second day with 174 to his name, the 23-year-old revealed: “I thought I’d be shattered but I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. The adrenaline was still going from the day.

“It was nice to wake up and know you’ve got a few runs to your name.”

As for reaching 200 - the first player to do so this summer - Chopra added: “It’s a bit easier when you’ve got an extra hundred to your name.

“You don’t really get the opportunity much. There isn’t the pressure to get to that milestone; it was a matter of enjoying it.”

Although the figures suggest otherwise, Chopra admitted it was “a good challenge” facing Sri Lanka spinner Ajantha Mendis, who returned figures of 4-183 from 43.1 overs on a chastening Somerset debut.

“He’s a bit unorthodox,” said Chopra. “You don’t see too many bowlers with as many variations as he’s got.

“I enjoyed facing him and we’ve had a good gameplan to play him. I was lucky to get some runs against him, but he got me out in the end.

“It’s a great start to the season, and if I can build on that and have a good year and Warwickshire have a good year, then everyone’s happy.”
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Moeen Ali's 92 put Worcestershire into a strong position on the second day at New Road, Worcestershire v Warwickshire, Worcester, April 21, 2011

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Sussex spinner Monty Panesar reminds England of his talents against Durham

By Rob Stewart at Emirates Riverside 9:46PM BST 20 Apr 2011

One of Monty Panesar’s claims to fame is that Sachin Tendulkar was his first Test wicket and if efforts in Durham are anything to go by the Indian batsman might end up being his next international victim.

The slow left-armer certainly gave watching England selector James Whitaker one of those proverbial nudges by claiming four wickets as he served up a reminder of his capabilities and international credentials, halting Durham in their tracks in Chester-le-Street.

The leaders of the nascent county championship had been cruising along nicely when Panesar slowly but surely turned the contest in his team’s favour by bowling tightly and claiming the key wickets of Ben Stokes - who missed another chance to impress Whitaker following a disappointing show at Headingley - and Dale Benkenstein.

Panesar, 29 next Tuesday, went on to dismiss Callum Thorp and Ruel Brathwaite but it would also have been noted by Whitaker that he also bowled with so much discipline on what appeared to be a docile pitch that he emerged as Sussex’s most economical bowler with his 28.4 overs going for just 88 runs.

He may have to play second fiddle to Graeme Swann for England these days but his endeavours here suggested that he will be very much in contention for a recall to the Test team ahead of Kent’s James Tredwell should England opt for two spinners when the world champions arrive.

His efforts put the brakes on the Durham innings which had been motoring along nicely as the former champions sought to build on their emphatic defeat of Yorkshire, with Will Smith’s rehabilitation after being stripped of the captaincy gathering momentum with a studiously crafted 59 that included eight fours and a six.

Smith was overshadowed by Gordon Muchall, though, who struck 13 fours as he moved to 74 in 119 balls before throwing away his wicket when he miscued an attempted pull off James Anyon.

It was an error of judgement that precipitated Durham’s slump from 173 for one to 292 all out.

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Varun Chopra drives on his way to an unbeaten 2nd double century in the 2nd innings for Warwickshire this season. Mohammad Yusuf was out for a well made 81. Moein Ali made 92 for Worcestershire
Worcestershire v Warwickshire, Worcester, April 22 2011


By Paul Bolton at Worcester 7:09PM BST 22 Apr 2011

Varun Chopra’s reward for a winter of hard graft in the Edgbaston indoor nets was a second double century in consecutive matches and a record-breaking innings that turned this derby on its head.

Chopra, 23, became the first Warwickshire batsman to score a double century in back-to-back matches and his career best 223 gave him more runs – 491 - in four innings this month than he managed in 18 last season.

Chopra missed half of his first season with Warwickshire with a broken hand but his remarkable transformation can be traced a winter spent working on improving his balance at the crease.

“He worked extremely hard over the winter on his set-up and pre-delivery movements so that he stands taller, plays straight and keeps his balance,” said Warwickshire director of cricket Ashley Giles..

“In the past he would be the first to admit that he’s changed technique very quickly. He’s moved onto new things then, at the first sign of trouble, tried something else.”


As a result Chopra looks more like the player who made two centuries in a match as England Under-19 captain against India in 2006 and who became Essex’s youngest Championship century-maker the same summer.

Having scraped together 1,046 first-class runs in two seasons, Chopra now heads the race to become the first batsman since Worcestershire’s Graeme Hick in 1988 to score 1,000 before the end of May.

He has a good chance of getting there if bowlers continue to feed his strengths between point and mid off. There were 31 fours in Chopra’s stylish double century, the last three of them coming in five balls, as he raced from 150 to 200 in 52 deliveries.

Chopra gave one chance, when Alan Richardson tipped a hook off Damien Wright over the rope for six, but Mohammad Yousuf led a more charmed life.

The former Pakistan batsman made 81 in his first-class match in five months but frequently flirted outside off stump until Daryl Mitchell plucked out a catch at second slip.

Little went right for Worcestershire on a long hot day in the field during which their hopes of a first Division One win at New Road since 2004 evaporated.
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Maharoof's dream debut

Farveez Maharoof wrote himself in to the Lancashire record books at Liverpool on Friday

The Sri Lankan all rounder completed a century on his debut during the morning session of the third day of the LV= County Championship match against Somerset, before taking two crucial wickets after lunch to help put the skids under the visitors.

He was also involved in a run out to cap a great debut, and his Lancashire team-mates pushed a reluctant Farveez to the front to take his plaudits as the teams left the field at the end of the match.

A century on debut is a rare acheivement. Only 7 Lancashire players had scored a hundred on their first team debut for the county before Maharoof, the most recent being Andrew Symonds in 2005.

Gary Yates still holds the record as the batsman lowest in the order (at number 9) to have scored a century on what is generally recognised as his first team debut (having already played first-class games against Oxford University and touring teams).


There is just one word to describe that - fantastic,” said Maharoof, who is just the third Lancashire player to score a century on his Championship debut and the first to reach three figures while batting at No.8 since Glen Chapple in 2001.

“I have four first-class centuries but this is the number one for me because of the tough conditions and it was against a good side. It doesn’t get any better.”

It is Lancashire’s second successive victory by an innings this season, having started their campaign with a win over Sussex at Liverpool.

“It was a fantastic performance,” said Mark Chilton, who captained the side in the absence of the injured Chapple. “We had a lot of confidence from the first game, individuals are in good form, but the whole attitude was first class against a very good team and everybody should be very proud of that performance.

“Maharoof was fantastic, it was great to see him do that and is really encouraging for the future.

“He just looks a proper player. If he performs like that each week he is going to get runs. He has a sound technique and plays spin very well. It was a fantastic debut for him.”

Steven Kirby claimed his sixth wicket of the innings for Somerset as Craig Kieswetter claimed a good catch to dismiss Sajid Mahmood for 20 in the opening session.

But it didn’t stop Maharoof as he launched countryman Ajantha Mendis for a straight six and then, three overs later, smashed three boundaries off the spinner.

The former Sri Lanka Under-19 skipper brought up his hundred in 131 balls with his 13th four.

Former England opener Marcus Trescothick claimed his fifth catch of the innings as Oliver Newby nicked a Charl Willoughby delivery to slip for 14, and Maharoof soon followed, trapped lbw by Arul Suppiah. But it was enough to give Lancashire a 183-run first-innings lead.

And he wasn’t finished there. Maharoof found Suppiah’s edge in his first over with the ball, with wicketkeeper Gareth Cross claiming a neat catch. Nick Compton followed four overs later, this time Paul Horton the catcher at slip.
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Azeem Rafiq joins Derbyshire on loan

The Yorkshire offspinner and former England Under-19 captain Azeem Rafiq has joined Derbyshire on loan for a month.

Rafiq, 20, could make his debut in the CB40 match against the Netherlands on Monday. He has played seven first-class matches for Yorkshire plus a further 17 appearances in limited-overs cricket and 28 matches for England Under 19s.


Four Youth Test appearances brought two five-wicket hauls and two fifties for Rafiq, who also notched a century in the second County Championship appearance of his career against Worcestershire in 2009.

He hit the headlines for the wrong reasons in 2010 after a foul-mouthed outburst on Twitter against his Under-19 coach, John Abraham, but his arrival in Derbyshire was welcomed by their head of cricket, John Morris.

"Azeem is a talented cricketer who gives us another option with the ball during an important month of cricket," said Morris. "Opportunities to play first team cricket have been limited at Yorkshire, but now he has the opportunity to compete for a place both in Championship and one-day cricket here at Derbyshire."
Sussex 194 and 309 for 8 (Wells 103, Brathwaite 5-58) beat Durham 292 (Muchall 74, Panesar 4-88) and 210 (Blackwell 51, Naved-ul-Hasan 4-43) by two wickets
My player to watch, Toby Roland-Jones has just completed his first outing in the County Championship this season.

He turned in figures of 2-49 and 4-38 as Middlesex thrashed rivals Surrey by an innings and 42 runs.
...and in his very next outing a 5 wicket haul!

5-91 in the first innings v Gloucestershire at Bristol.
Glen Chapple gets Trott for 9, although he's not exactly a future England player haha.
Haseeb hameed.
Lancashire opener

Everytime I check county scorecard his stikerate stands out.
Till today his career strike rate in first class matches is in the mid 30s.

Scored a hundred today off 280 balls, making misbah and Azhar Ali look like sehwag
Nottinghamshire have a bowling attack of James Pattinson, Stuart Broad, Harry Gurney and Jake Ball.

And that's a Division Two attack !

Now Pattinson's been called up to the CT, Cheteshwar Pujara has been signed as a replacement. Not sure how wise that is as Broad will have his workload managed by ECB, and Ball is also in the CT squad. They may be light in bowling.

However they really needed to strengthen their batting, James Pattinson is their second highest run scorer !
Nottinghamshire have a bowling attack of James Pattinson, Stuart Broad, Harry Gurney and Jake Ball.

And that's a Division Two attack !

Now Pattinson's been called up to the CT, Cheteshwar Pujara has been signed as a replacement. Not sure how wise that is as Broad will have his workload managed by ECB, and Ball is also in the CT squad. They may be light in bowling.

However they really needed to strengthen their batting, James Pattinson is their second highest run scorer !

I don't know who Harry Gurney is but I am quite certain he would make the Pakistan XI without any problems....
I don't know who Harry Gurney is but I am quite certain he would make the Pakistan XI without any problems....

Nah he wouldn't but here's the thing.

Do you think TTFs like Kamran Akmal, Khurrum Manzoor and Ahmed Shehzad would last three matches against attacks the calibre of Nottinghamshire who don't even play in Division One of County ?

This is the difference between a PROFESSIONAL domestic structure that ensures quality and a fair amount of competitiveness, enabling you to produce international-standard talent, and our domestic structure where mediocre players look like gods.
Keith Barker, wonderful all rounder who is a left handed bat and bowls left arm medium (great for balance! and my word what'd we do to have him in the Pak team!, talent depth is decent in England); England should keep him around the squad and utilise his efforts while they can because he is 30 years old. Stokes is keeping him out but rotating him with Barker can benefit the team in the long run in terms of ensuring longevity and preventing injuries but then again they have Woakes as well!