New Ball Options
Featured News | 9th April 2013
The LV= County Championship swings into action in earnest tomorrow with the start of the four-day season.
For Notts and director of cricket Mick Newell the focus is very much on day one and the visit of Middlesex to Trent Bridge in LV= County Championship Division One.
Newell and his coaching staff have been hard at work in the off-season trying to perfect a line-up they hope will help them improve on the fifth-place finish of 2012.
"Swing bowling at Trent Bridge is big, but it might not be as big away from here so the bowlers who swing the ball will have an advantage at home, those who are more seam bowlers might have an advantage away." Mick Newell
The bowling camp in South Africa, tour of Barbados and the subsequent friendlies at Trent Bridge, Derby and Leicester in the last week have all helped to enhance these preparations.
Now it's about seeing how the Notts squad shapes up in competitive action against Middlesex, from Wednesday to Saturday.
While Newell admits to having much to ponder in the bowling department, where England international Ajmal Shahzad has come in to strengthen the club's options, he is happy with how his batting line-up is coming together.
"That's one of the debates we've been having at the moment (who will take the new ball among the bowlers against Middlesex)," said Newell.
"That was one of the purposes of the games last week and looking at the bowlers.
"Andre (Adams) doesn't like the new ball so that's an easy decision to make that he doesn't take it, but who takes the ball and who's the fourth seamer are the key areas we are still looking at.
"There are certain away matches, in particular, where we will want a second spinner so Sam Wood and Graeme White will come into the team on those occasions, where they might not do as much at Trent Bridge.
"Swing bowling at Trent Bridge is big, but it might not be as big away from here so the bowlers who swing the ball will have an advantage at home, those who are more seam bowlers might have an advantage away.
"I'm confident that we've got a group of bowlers for all occasions.
"We've tried to change the balance (of the bowling attack) over the last two or three years, if you look at the players that have left the club who are experienced bowlers – like Sidebottom and Pattinson – we were going to have too many bowlers in their 30s.
"But we've reduced that to Adams, Phillips and Franks, then we've got Ajmal in the middle a little at 27 and then a group of young players like Gurney, Carter and Fletcher in their early 20s and then Jake Ball is just 20 or 21.
"So we've tried to have different age groups of bowlers, so that there's a progression of bowlers at the club right the way through."
With the introduction of Aussie Test batsman Ed Cowan for the first three months of the season, along with the likes of Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, James Taylor, Samit Patel, Riki Wessels and Chris Read, Notts appear to have an embarrassment of riches in the batting department.
"Obviously our batting tends to be a lot of the same faces," added Newell.
"Cowan and Hales will definitely open the batting in the first game, with Lumb at three, Taylor and then Patel – something like that.
"I'm more confident than I have been in recent years about the strength of our top order.
"Having said that, Trent Bridge is a difficult place to bat early in the season against the new ball so it's going to be a real test of their techniques."
In terms of doing his homework on tomorrow's opponents Middlesex, Newell is not worried that it is a bit of a step into the unknown.
He added: "County cricket is a little bit of a circus in that you go round and round playing the same teams year after year.
"We've got some videos of them (Middlesex) last year and we've certainly got a lot of stats on them from last year and an awareness of how they played here.
"It's really about us doing the right things in terms of our bowling, in particular getting enough balls in the right place to challenge the batsmen and hopefully then the edges will come."
The Nottingham Post will provide extensive cricket coverage throughout the season with previews, reports and features published online and in the paper.