Essex relishing summit meeting with Kent
PUBLISHED: 12:44 02 July 2016 | UPDATED: 12:44 02 July 2016
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Division Two’s top two meet at Chelmsford
Essex head coach Chris Silverwood admits his players are relishing the opportunity to regain the top spot in the Specsavers County Championship Division Two when they meet new leaders Kent on Sunday.
A draw with Derbyshire during the week allowed Kent to take over in the race for promotion, four points ahead of Essex who have a game in hand.
Kent are unbeaten in red-ball cricket so far this season having won twice and drawn six times since their total abandonment at Worcester in the opening week of the season.
But Silverwood, who has named a 13-man squad, is hoping his men can resume winning ways in the four-day format at Chelmsford and leapfrog Kent at the summit in this latest ‘Battle of the Bridge’.
“With only one promotion place available this year, I’m happy that we should set the pace throughout,” said Silverwood.
“We have two very important Championship matches this month against Kent and Gloucestershire, who are both challenging to reach Division One and ideally, we don’t want to find ourselves having to play catch-up.
“Jesse Ryder is rested but we are able to welcome back Alastair Cook, which is a terrific bonus for us because he played such a crucial part at the start of the season helping to get us to the top of the table.
“He scored over 500 runs in four matches for us, including three centuries, and to have his presence both out in the middle and around the dressing room is brilliant and an absolute pleasure.
“We never put much pressure on him when he comes back and we are just grateful to have him around the squad. Hopefully, we hope he can make an impact on his return.”
England Test captain Cook, 31, will make his fifth championship appearance of the season for Essex and has not played since England completed a 2-0 series win over Sri Lanka on June 13.
Cook hit 523 runs in seven visits to the crease for his county and his average of 130.75 remains the highest in the championship this summer.
Essex: Ryan ten Doeschate; James Foster; Ravi Bopara; Nick Browne; Alastair Cook; Dan Lawrence; David Masters; Jaik Mickleburgh; Graham Napier; Jamie Porter; Matt Quinn; Tom Westley; Ashar Zaidi.
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