Team news: Essex at Worcestershire

PUBLISHED: 11:30 30 April 2016

Essex's Alastair Cook hits out on his way to a century (pic: Gareth Fuller/PA)

Essex's Alastair Cook hits out on his way to a century (pic: Gareth Fuller/PA)

PA Wire

Coach names 13-man squad for County Championship match

Head coach Chris Silverwood has named a 13-man squad for the trip to New Road where Essex face Worcestershire in a Specsavers County Championship Division Two fixture starting tomorrow (Sunday).

Silverwood has added pace bowler Matt Dixon and all-rounder Ashar Zaidi to the side that beat Northamptonshire by an innings earlier this week and sits proudly at the top of the table.

And he paid tribute to the work of his players so far this season, saying; “Everyone worked so hard pre-season and they have carried that into the opening weeks of the season.

“With only one promotion place up for grabs this year, we felt it was important to start the season well and we could hardly have wished for a better start.

“It’s an old cliché, but you do have to take one game at a time. We’ve given ourselves a great platform to build on and now we have to continue that good start by making sure that we keep to our game plan.”

Ravi Bopara, who was unable to field during the Northamptonshire match because of a sore knee, has recovered and there is good news regarding New Zealand-born fast bowler Matt Quinn.

Injured during a recent second team match, scans have now revealed that his side strain is not as severe as was initially feared and he could be set to return to action shortly.

Having scored 333 runs in five innings so far, England Test captain Alastair Cook makes his last Championship appearance for Essex ahead of the start of the series with Sri Lanka and Silverwood added: “He’s been magnificent for us, not only with the way he’s batted but with his presence in and around the dressing room.

“That innings he played down at Hove recently which enabled us to draw with Sussex was top-drawer.

“It’s been good for Cooky to have time in the middle ahead of his England commitments and, of course, he’s played a key part in our season so far.”

When Cook walks out to the middle to bat at Worcester, he will come face-to-face with New Zealand paceman Matt Henry, 24, who claimed a distinguished first Test scalp 11 months ago when he dismissed the England captain at Lord’s.

Henry, who finished the Lord’s Test with six wickets, has been restricted to just three more Test appearances since then and chose to undergo a spell of county cricket for the first time to help boost his hopes of playing Test cricket on a regular basis.

Essex’s former Oaks Park pupil Jamie Porter currently tops the bowling charts with 22 wickets, including a career-best match haul of 8-101 against Northants.

Essex: Ryan ten Doeschate, Alastair Cook, Nick Browne, Tom Westley, Ravi Bopara, Dan Lawrence, Jesse Ryder, James Foster, Graham Napier, David Masters, Jamie Porter, Matt Dixon, Ashar Zaidi.

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