Essex are in action this evening when they meet Sussex at Hove in the opening match of this year's Twenty20 Cup competition.
Essex are in action this evening when they meet Sussex at Hove in the opening match of this year's Twenty20 Cup competition, with the match starting at 6.30pm.
The all-action tournament has proved a real crowd-pleaser, with a number of grounds posting "house full" notices to bring a smile to the faces of those charged with the financial responsibility of making ends meet in county cricket.
Essex reached the quarter-finals last year before losing to eventual winners Leicestershire but, after the success they have enjoyed thus far in the one-day totesport League, there are justifiable expectations that the county could progress through to finals day.
They do have a number of injury worries ahead of tonight's game, with Alex Tudor (knee), Graham Napier (heel), Tim Phillips (ankle), Andy Clarke (ankle) and Justin Bishop (abdominal muscle) all ruled out through injury, while Grant Flower will have a fitness test on shoulder and neck problems.
Mark Pettini makes his first appearance in the squad this season after completing his University commitments, while Danish Kaneria could make his Twenty20 Cup debut.
Napier is set to play for the Second XI in a one-day game at Billericay tomorrow and, if he comes through that without any adverse reaction, he could be included in the line-up for Friday's Twenty20 match with Kent at Chelmsford.
Disappointingly, former England pace bowler Tudor is still plagued by injury, and he is to seek the opinion of an orthopaedic surgeon this week to assess the extent of his knee problem, sustained when he went over on a foothold at Lancashire in the C&G Trophy in May.
Although he has since taken the field on two occasions, the trouble is continuing to affect him. "It's disappointing for Alex because he worked really hard during the winter to overcome the back and hip problems he had but, like any fast bowler, there is always the chance of collecting another injury," Essex skipper Ronnie Irani stated. "We have to deal with this current problem in a professional manner and be patient with Alex if it's decided that he needs an operation, because I know that a fit Alex Tudor can do a terrific job for this team."
Essex squad: R Irani (captain), W Jefferson, A Flower, R Bopara, M Pettini, J Middlebrook, J Foster, R ten Doeschate, A Adams, N Thornicroft, Danish Kaneria, A Cook and G Flower.