Middlesex's First Team Coach, Richard Johnson, has named a squad of thirteen to head to Manchester, where we face Lancashire at Old Trafford for our twelfth encounter in this season's LV= Insurance County Championship.
The squad includes Indian off-spinner Jayant Yadav, who arrived in the UK this week after a frustrating delay with his international travel documents led to him missing out against Essex at Chelmsford last week. Having now arrived with Middlesex, he will be available to represent the Club for the final three matches of the season.
With just three matches remaining in the campaign, we currently sit in eighth place in the Division One table, six points clear of Kent in ninth and 26 points clear of Northamptonshire at the foot of the table.
Ahead of us, in seventh place, lie Nottinghamshire, although the Trent Bridge based side have a 27 point advantage over us, also having played eleven matches.
Lancashire climbed the table last week, leap-frogging both Somerset and Warwickshire by virtue of a thumping victory over Northamptonshire by the margin of an innings and 26 runs, which took them to fourth spot and comfortably clear of the bottom of the table, yet 59 points behind top placed Surrey.
Division One table as of Saturday 9th September 2023:
Lancashire head into this week's match off the back of that strong performance against Northants last week, which followed back to back draws in their last two encounters prior to the break for the fifty-over competition.
Josh Bohannon has led the run-scoring for Lancashire this season, with the Bolton born right-hander amassing 1,063 runs in the Championship to date, at an average of 59.05, and he is one of only four batsmen in the country to surpass the thousand run milestone at this stage of the competition.
He has been well supported by the experienced Keaton Jennings, who has 645 runs at 58.63, and George Balderson, with 634 runs at 63.40.
With the ball, Tom Bailey and Will Williams lead the wicket-taking, with 44 wickets at 21.84 and 37 wickets at 21.75 respectively. They are streets ahead of the rest of the Lancashire bowling unit, with George Balderson's 18 at 37.50 next in line.
With just three games remaining, we will need to find the kind of form that has seen us beat Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire and Kent earlier in the campaign if we are to secure the points we need to remain ahead of Kent, and with two of our remaining matches being against these opponents, there's reason to be optimistic that maintaining our division one status is well within us.
The ten-wicket haul taken by Josh De Caires at Essex last week was the only real positive to take from the encounter in Chelmsford, with the off-spinner bowling superbly, and with Yadav now added to the attack there’s plenty of wicket taking options for Middlesex to call up in the spin department in the midst of a warm and dry late summer spell.
The next four days may well not prove decisive in how this season ends, however a positive result for Middlesex up at Old Trafford would certainly release the pressure valves and put us in a strong position going into those final two clashes.
Whatever happens, it promises to be a nail-biting four days ahead.
Middlesex have named the following thirteen man squad for the Lancashire clash: