PREVIEW AND SQUAD ANNOUNCED FOR DERBYSHIRE COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP CLASH
Middlesex’s next outing in this year’s Specsavers County Championship comes on Friday, when Richard Scott’s men head to Derby, to take on a Derbyshire side who make their first appearance in this year’s competition having sat out of the opening round of matches last week.
It’s been five years since the two sides have met in the four-day format, with both 2013 encounters ending with the home side victorious; at Lord’s, where Middlesex won by 9 wickets, and at the County Ground in Derby, where the hosts ran out winners by 56 runs.
Middlesex head into Friday’s clash on the back of a comprehensive win at the Home of Cricket last week, where they swept aside Northamptonshire in a little over two and a half days in a dominant display of seam bowling. Both Tim Murtagh and James Harris will be hoping that the Derbyshire groundsman serves up a similar deck to the one they cashed in on at Lord’s last weekend, which suited their fuller length down to the ground, with the pace duo extracting plenty of movement on their way to a collective haul of seventeen wickets.
Middlesex will come up against a familiar face in Billy Godleman at the County Ground, who now has the honour of leading the county he joined after leaving Middlesex at the end of the 2009 season. Also in the opposition ranks will be the evergreen Derbyshire stalwart Wayne Madsen, who has been a thorn in the Seaxes’ side on numerous occasions in the past, none more so than when the two sides last met half a decade ago in Derby when the South African hit an unbeaten hundred in Derbyshire’s first innings to set up their victory.
Like the Northamptonshire clash last week, Middlesex will once again head into the clash with a number of notable absentees in their squad.
On the batting front, Nick Gubbins and Eoin Morgan will both miss out again through injury, although news from the physio room gives plenty of cause for optimism, with both doing well on their road to recovery. Dawid Malan is again rested at the request of England, after a lengthy absence over the winter on England International duty, whilst Stephen Eskinazi also misses the trip, as he recovers from a virus that saw him withdraw from the game against Northants on the morning of the clash.
Steven Finn is again absent, as he continues to rest and recover from sore knees, whilst Tom Barber is also withdrawn from the squad that faced Northants, with the left-arm paceman suffering from a sore ankle.
Twenty points from their opening encounter sees Middlesex sat at the top of the Division Two table at this early stage, with only Gloucestershire also winning last week, who picked up nineteen points. With another home clash against Glamorgan on the cards next week, Sam Robson will be looking for another solid performance from his side to maintain momentum before handing back the captaincy reins to Dawid Malan for next week’s outing at Lord’s against the Welshmen.
Middlesex have named the following squad of thirteen players for the clash with Derbyshire…
Sam Robson (captain)
John Simpson (wicket-keeper)