May 19 2013 Latest news:
James Long, London24’s Essex blogger
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
After a brilliant win against Gloucestershire in the CB40 match on Jubilee Bank Holiday Monday spirits in the Essex camp are definitely on the rise.
The win against Gloucestershire marked a return to form for several batsmen, Ravi’s excellent 120* stole the headlines but Westley’s 82 was a great knock and Shah’s brisk 15* showed promise.
Rain looks like damaging the County Championship game against Northants however, this time with Essex being the side more frustrated than relieved for the downpours.
Ravi looks set to score back-to-back 100’s (not jinxing him in the slightest…) and skipper Jimmy Foster probably would fancy a 100 himself.
Thoughts therefore move forward to next week, which marks the start of the T20 campaign. Essex seemingly will be unable to gain promotion in the County Championship or finish at the top of the CB40 to enter the knock out stages.
As a result the T20 is the only realistic chance Essex have of winning silverware in 2012.
With Graham Napier, Tim Phillips and Ravi Bopara all returning from injuries at the same time, as well as the return of Owais Shah and Ryan Ten Doeschate from the IPL, Essex look in a great shape for the tournament.
After missing out on Peter Siddle and then Shakib Al-Hasan as a second “overseas” player for the T20 competition, Jimmy Franklin (this writer’s favourite) looks like being the only “overseas” Essex player this year.
With all these first-class players available, there is somewhat of a pleasant selection headache forming for the first game on Wednesday against Surrey. With the players available to pick from, this is my proposed 11 to take the field at the Oval.
1. Mark Pettini
2. Ravi Bopara
3. Owais Shah
4. Jimmy Franklin
5. Ryan Ten Doeschate
6. Jimmy Foster
7. Greg Smith
8. Graham Napier
9. Tim Phillips
10. David Masters
11. Tymal Mills
That team should provide balance in all departments. Amongst the batsmen there is the world-class talent of Ravi given the most amount of overs to bat.
Also, the stroke-makers such as Pettini, Shah and Fozzie are spread amongst the big-hitters of Tendo and Napier.
Napier also adds pace to the bowling attack with both him and Mills able to bowl 85mph+, backed up by David “Mr. Consistent” Masters, last year’s leading wicket taker Tim Phillips as the spinner and the part-time bowling of Smith and Tendo.
Throw into that the International all-round capabilities of Jimmy Franklin and that team, on paper, could match anyone.
For the last 3 years a group of friends and I have always headed to the Oval for the T20 game away against Surrey and this year will be no exception.
Optimistically, I’m backing Essex to win well at The Oval and blaze a trail through to another appearance at the T20 Finals day.”