Nottinghamshire batsman Alex Hales hopes that the return of Stuart Broad can propel Nottinghamshire to overcome Derbyshire at The County Ground.
Notts need to bounce back after an uncharacteristic defeat in the opening round against Middlesex, the first opening round reversal suffered since 2002. Broad is included at the expense of Andy Carter with Harry Gurney also named in a 12-man squad.
“With someone of Stuart Broad’s quality back in the side it just adds to the many quality players we already have," said Hales.
"This should give us an even better chance of getting the ball rolling for the season and there is nothing better than getting one over your close rival.”
The Derbyshire game also brings with it the second episode of Hales’ opening partnership with Ed Cowan.
“He is a top class batsman who has a calm and concentrated mind making him an ideal opening partner for me.
“It was disappointing to get in then get out last week but I was happy with batting responsibly, a main aim for this season, and that should help me to get more runs.”
Looking beyond the Derbyshire game, Hales is personally looking to perform well for Nottinghamshire in all three formats and believes that there is a high chance of silverware coming back to Trent Bridge this year.
“On paper our squad is one of the strongest around but unfortunately the game isn’t played on paper," he said.
"What is imperative is that the players get firing in order to kick-start the season and be up there in all three competitions.”
With the LV= County Championship the main aim in Hales’ mind, there is also an ambition around the squad to push in the shorter formats.
“With the likes of Lumb, Patel and Taylor in your batting line-up it is one of the strongest one-day squads around.
Add to that the acquisition of Shahzad who has played white-ball cricket for England and the season looks bright.”
“In the past few seasons we have reached quarter- and semi-finals. It is all about getting over that last hurdle and winning silverware.”
Hales knows that his own performances throughout the season will hopefully have him knocking on England’s door.
“I want to do well for England in T20’s as well as here at Notts. I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to be involved in the Champions Trophy but the top order is one of the strongest parts of the England team."
"In order to get my name talked about I will focus on keeping my head down for Notts and doing well in all three formats, taking chances when they come.”
The long run ambition for any Championship player is to force his way into Test recognition. Hales is no different and sees this as something that could come about with a lot of hard work.
Test cricket will provide the focal point for a busy Trent Bridge summer with the first Investec Ashes Test set to start on Wednesday 10 July.
“Trent Bridge is an impressive and historic ground and an Ashes series without a Test at Trent Bridge is just not the same,” he said.
Nottinghamshire team to face Derbyshire (from): Ed Cowan, Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, James Taylor, Samit Patel, Riki Wessels, Chris Read, Stuart Broad, Ajmal Shahzad, Luke Fletcher, Andre Adams, Harry Gurney
Derbyshire team to face Nottinghamshire (from): Wayne Madsen, Billy Godleman, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Wes Durston, Dan Redfern, Ross Whiteley, David Wainwright, Tom Poynton, Jonathan Clare, Tony Palladino, Tim Groenewald, Mark Turner