Archive for April, 2012
Leicestershire will have two main ambitions for the 2012 season: to repeat their Friends Life T20 victory of last year and put in a much-improved showing in the LV County Championship Division Two.
The county finished rock-bottom of Division Two in a disastrous season in the longer form of the game, and much more is expected of Matthew Hoggard’s men going into the 2012 campaign. Any success going forward will likely improve their standing on the Betfair cricket odds.
They will take much confidence from their successful Friends Life T20 experience but their dismal County Championship was coupled with only finishing second from bottom in their Clydesdale Bank 40 group.
Leicestershire have lost James Taylor and Harry Gurney to Nottinghamshire, while Paul Nixon has retired. Fans will be hoping the additions of Robbie Joseph and Ramnaesh Sarwan can give them a boost.
A couple of big-name departures mean they face a 2012 season with a relatively inexperienced squad, but club captain Hoggard is hoping they can learn from the experience of last year to put in a better showing in 2012.
He told BBC Radio Leicester: “We still have a young squad but it’s exciting times. The bad year we had will stand us in good stead.”
Leicestershire boast a strong bowling attack for 2012, but it is in the batting department where they could be found wanting, especially in the County Championship Division Two.
The addition of Ben Smith as batting coach will be a positive while there will be big things expected of Josh Cobb, who could enjoy a breakout season in the Championship after looking inspired in the one-day games.
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Lancashire go into the LV County Championship Division One title as the defending champions for 2012 and their captain Glen Chapple predicts there is no reason his blossoming side cannot hold onto their crown; an idea that many cricket betting pundits agree with.
It was a first championship in 77 years for the north-west outfit last season as they pipped past Warwickshire on the final game of the season when they chased down a win against Somerset; a season finale as thrilling as the the observed in the Betfair IPL.
Last season showed they were a young team full of promise for the future and they have confirmed Ashwell Price as an overseas player for the championship. But it’s the home-grown talent that has crowds buzzing at Lancashire and all eyes will be one Simon Kerrigan to get the wickets again this time around.
A strong combination of ageing heads – such as Chapple and spinner Gary Keedy – and youthful exuberance took the county forward in 2011 and their skipper expects more of the same as the young team develops as a strong unit.
Chapple said the title win last year means there is “further belief” throughout the squad but the likes of Warwickshire, Middlesex and Surry are likely to be hunting Lancashire down in County Championship Division One.
“I think we’ve got that belief now, due to the squad that we’ve got and also with it being so close at the end, to win it under extreme pressure is really valuable,” said the captain.
“Last year was a great thing but it’s what we do this year that counts. I think it will be very similar to last season with the added bonus of knowing what we can achieve. We’re a young team and we’re a year further down the line.”
Lancashire head coach Peter Moores has predicted Middlesex as one team who could be realistic title contenders in the County Championship Division One this coming season after they came up as champions from Division Two.
Sussex CCC will be looking to improve on last year’s respectable mid-table finish in LV County Championship Division One and captain Michael Yardy reckons they are looking well placed for a title push.
The Hove outfit last won the title back in 2007 but were steady last year on their way to a fifth-place finish, but they will begin the season without England cricket stars Matt Prior and Monty Panesar while Luke Wright will be in the Indian Premier League.
They have signed the 32-year-old Australian seamer Steven Magoffin to fill the gap for the early months of 2012 after Tim Southee pulled out of a deal. He has previous County Championship experience and should provide some cover down Sussex’s batting order as well.
Yardy predicts Magoffin to “complement” Sussex’s “improving bowling attack” in one-day and four-day cricket, but it is the County Championship Division One where the Hove captain is predicting some real cause for optimism.
The 31-year-old told BBC Sussex he expects the Championship to be “wide open” but one which his squad are good enough to succeed in.
“If we play to our strengths and work hard as a team, we won’t be far off.” Yardy added: “I think we’ve got a good batting line-up and some good young players coming through.”
The deal for Magoffin comes only a short time after Sussex boosted their squad for the Friends Life t20 tournament with the signing of former New Zealand all-rounder Scott Styris.
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