General News | 15th April 2008
Three debutants as Notts prepare for Kent
Director of Cricket Mick Newell will hand Notts debuts to three players when the County Championship begins at Kent on Wednesday.
Matt Wood and Will Jefferson will form a new opening partnership and overseas player Adam Voges is named at number four in the batting order.
Wood was a victim of Marcus Trescothick’s decision to retire from international cricket and open the batting for Somerset and Newell says his performances could be a key factor if Notts are to achieve success in Division One.
“The only contentious decision was leaving out Bilal Shafayat but we felt that Matt Wood’s experience as an opening batsman gave him the edge,” said Newell.
“If Matt and Will can form a good opening partnership then we have every chance of being successful in this division.
“Bilal will push for a place and he can force his way into the reckoning by working hard.”
Darren Pattinson, a team mate of David Hussey’s at Victoria, is also in the side for his first appearance on the county scene since stepping up from English club cricket.
Chris Read captains the side, which also includes Graeme Swann and Mark Ealham, but Ryan Sidebottom and Stuart Broad will not feature until the end of April following their success with England this winter.
Bulwell born Luke Fletcher will also travel with the squad as twelfth man.
Notts’ defeat to Kent in the friendly last week with an experimental line-up is of no concern to Newell who has embraced the underdog tag afforded to his side by the bookmakers. Notts were largely unfancied the last time they won promotion to the top flight but went on to win the competition in 2005.
He said: “It is a very open competition and I can’t see anyone running away with it or being cast adrift.
“We’ll have a very good idea who the contenders are when we reach August and although Sussex are very strong, I think it will go to the wire.
“We set the benchmark by getting promoted and then winning the title and I am not concerned if people think that we are under-powered.”
Kent will give a debut to Pakistan Test player Azhar Mahmood who joined from Surrey in the off-season.
A right-arm, fast-medium bowler and middle order batsman, Mahmood made his entry into the Test arena against the visiting South African team in 1997, scoring 128 in the first innings and 50 in the second without dismissal.
He has signed a two-year deal with the reigning Twenty20 Cup holders and hopes to help them improve on their seventh-placed finish last term.
Nottinghamshire squad to face Kent: Will Jefferson, Matt Wood, Mark Wagh, Adam Voges, Samit Patel, Chris Read, Graeme Swann, Mark Ealham, Paul Franks, Darren Pattinson, Charlie Shreck, Luke Fletcher.