Fixture News | 8th May 2007

Read up for Middlesex challenge

Chris Read has stressed that Notts won’t be easing up after their flying start to the Championship season and expects Middlesex to provide a real test of their capabilities.

LV County Championship Division Two
May 9-12: Notts v Middlesex
Start time: 11am
Tickets cost £12 for adults and £6 for concessions.
Get live ball-by-ball commentary online from BBC London. Click here for uninterrupted match coverage.

The 28-year-old expects the Londoners to provide one of the toughest challenges of the summer but is confident the team are up to the task.

He said: “When you look at the Middlesex batsmen, you’ve got to say it’s one of the strongest in the country, let alone the second division.

“We know we’ll have to be at our best to maintain our winning run but the good thing is that from a batting perspective, we’ve been giving our bowlers a lot of runs to work with.

“Without showing disrespect to the teams we’ve played so far, there are stronger sides out there in the division and Middlesex are one of those I expect to be challenging for promotion.

“I still see the situation as very much early season, with teams checking each other out to assess who’ll be in the running. This is a game where we can set a marker down for the summer.”

Director of Cricket Mick Newell has unsurprisingly named an unchanged side for the match, and Read is looking for the weather to hold up and give the team another chance to get points on the board.

He added: “You’ve got to say that the weather so far has been magic and that’s certainly helped us. We beat Gloucestershire with 10 minutes to spare and didn’t lose a single over to rain or bad light, so it’s already meant we’ve picked up extra points.

“Last year part of our misfortune was down to the rain in the first few weeks which meant we couldn’t get out on the park or finish teams off. But by all accounts the forecast for the summer is a good one and that’s a promising sign for us.”

Notts:
Gallian, Shafayat, Wagh, Hussey (capt), Patel, Read (wkt), Ealham, Franks, Swann, Sidebottom, Shreck.

Middlesex:
Smith (capt), Joyce, Strauss, Shah, Dalrymple, Nash (wkt), Godleman, Murtagh, Kartik, Johnson, Richardson, Wright.

Middlesex one to watch:
Andrew Strauss - There’s bound to be plenty of attention focused on the England left-hander following Michael Vaughan’s latest injury. With Vaughan likely to miss England’s first two Tests with the West Indies after breaking a finger for Yorkshire, Strauss is in pole position to be named as skipper for the series.
And while he suffered his first serious lapse in form at international level during this winter’s Ashes tour, there’s no doubt that Strauss remains a classy performer in a batting line-up filled with England internationals, including Ed Joyce, Owais Shah and Jamie Dalrymple. 

Looking back at Notts v Middlesex by Peter Wynne-Thomas

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