Sat proudly at the top of the Division One table, with three wins and one draw from our opening four LV= County Championship matches this year, Middlesex quite rightly go to Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl on Sunday as favourites to continue their good form and build on a string of positive early season results.
In contrast, Hampshire themselves have yet to record a victory in the Championship this season, drawing two and losing two of their opening four games, although this in itself should be enough of an incentive to inspire Jimmy Adams’ men to turn their form around. With such a talented side at Adams’ disposal, there are plenty who’ve been surprised at Hampshire’s stuttering start to the season.
Having hit a century on his Middlesex debut against Somerset at Taunton, James Franklin, takes over the captaincy reins from the departing Adam Voges, who has left the club to join up with the Australian Test squad for their forthcoming tour to the West Indies. The vastly experienced Franklin has captained Wellington in each of the last three seasons, winning silverware in two of those, and he’ll be keen to continue to steer the ship as effectively as Voges before him.
Middlesex amazingly haven’t played at Hampshire since 2006, as both clubs have resided in different divisions of the County Championship structure since, although when making a return to the Ageas Bowl on Sunday, or the Rose Bowl as it was known back then, Middlesex will be optimistic of a much better result than the ten wicket defeat they experienced a decade ago, when Shane Warne wreaked havoc with the ball.
Having been released by Middlesex last year, all-rounder Gareth Berg, will no doubt be desperate to put on a good performance against his old club, although with both momentum and form on their side, confidence will be high in the Middlesex camp and they will look to continue their good run and cement their position at the top of the LV= County Championship table.
Middlesex have announced the following 14-man squad for the match starting tomorrow at the Ageas Bowl: James Franklin (captain), Joe Burns, Nick Compton, Neil Dexter, Steven Finn, Nick Gubbins, James Harris, Ravi Patel, Harry Podmore, Ollie Rayner, Sam Robson, Toby Roland-Jones, John Simpson and Paul Stirling.