Well the weather has been wet and it hasn’t been particularly warm but that means the cricket season is starting. The season starts tomorrow! The forecast for the game seems fine and hopefully a result will come of it. Of course a Hampshire win would be brilliant and provide us with the perfect start. Newly promoted Worcestershire are the opponents and they will certainly be up for it. A stern test with some talented players on show.
As mentioned in my Big Season Preview, Hampshire started well but fell away last season. Lack of runs the issue. On the first game of the season don’t expect a run fest. A green pitch looks likely and it’s understandable as the covers haven’t come off much. I was up looking at my ground it’s waterlogged. A big well done to the brilliant drainage at The Ageas Bowl. Most batsmen dread this time of year. Overhead conditions will help as Cloud is forecast over the 4 days. The good old fashioned leave will have to be used a lot. The first hour will be time to dig in with a few play and misses along the way. As a bowler it’s all about pitching it up and tempting batsmen into loose shots and hope your slip fielders have been practicing in pre-season.
Moving onto the teams. I am yet to the see the squads for this game but you could probably predict the Hampshire team. Hashim Amla will come straight in and is happy to open. Brave desicion Hashim. He will partner the ever present Jimmy Adams. Left and Right hand combination at the top is always favoured. James Vince will be in at 3. I think we all know where Worcestershire will be targeting him. The slips will be waiting in anticipation. Sam Northeast will be in at 4. A talented and powerful ball striker. The number 5 is the tricky spot for Hampshire. I do feel Rilee Rossouw will be playing but it depends if Hampshire want a 5th seam option. Sean Ervine would bowl 3-4 overs of medium pace. A decision that I certainly wouldn’t want to be making. Liam Dawson will be batting 6. His spin won’t be used so much in this game one would imagine. McManus will be in at 7 and will be ready behind the stumps. Gareth Berg at 8 and his precision with the ball will cause problems. Our star bowler Kyle Abbott will bat 9 but he will be more focused on the new ball. We all know his ability now and we are begging him to show it again. Brad Wheal and Fidel Edwards will fill the last 2 spots. They will be itching to have a bowl.
Onto the opposition now and they have some talented players on show. Big signing Travis Head will be playing. He had a good season in Australia averaging 40 in 4 day cricket. His one day cricket has surely given him confidence and with the shambles that is Cricket Australia he knows a good season in England could get him into the Test side. Joe Clarke had an excellent North vs South Series scoring 2 centuries. A player in good touch . Daryl Mitchell seems to bat well every time I watch him and Brett D’Oliveira is a lovely batsmen to watch. A player that I really like is Josh Tongue. A bowler with real pace and a steep bouncer on him. He could cause Hampshire a lot of problems if he gets his pace up and line spot on. A quality bowler on show. The captain Joe Leach had an excellent season with the ball last year taking 69 wickets. A golden arm is what I’ve been reading… Steve Magoffin signed for Worcestershire. An experinced campaigner but has the ability to take plenty of wickets like he did for Sussex.
Annoyingly I can’t make the first day of the season due to work hours and on Saturday I’m in London watching Charlton vs Scunthorpe. A big game for my team Charlton. However, I will be settling in on Sunday and Monday with some layers just in case and I will provide my thoughts after the game. Come on Hampshire! Let the season begin!
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