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County Championship: Alastair Cook back for Essex on trip to Somerset in Division One

PUBLISHED: 12:34 13 April 2017 | UPDATED: 12:34 13 April 2017

Essex's Alastair Cook watches from the balcony during day one of the Specsavers County Championship season (pic Adam Davy/PA)

Essex's Alastair Cook watches from the balcony during day one of the Specsavers County Championship season (pic Adam Davy/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

All-time leading England Test run scorer returns after missing opening game with injury

Essex have named a 13-man squad for the visit to Somerset for the county’s first away game in Division One of the Specsavers County Championship.

Alastair Cook is included after he was forced to stand down from the opening match of the campaign with a hip problem whilst all-rounder Ashar Zaidi is added to the side that drew with Lancashire.

Head Coach Chris Silverwood took plenty of positives from the draw with Lancashire.

“It reminded me of the game last year down at Hove when we had to fight hard to save the game with Sussex,” he reflected. “Obviously the match with Lancashire was a little more one-sided but at the same time, to battle it out as we did with that innings from Dan Lawrence was superb. It was such a mature innings from a young person and we sometimes forget that he is still only 19 years-old.

“The guys should take a lot of encouragement and belief from the draw with Lancashire and should be thinking, ‘You know, maybe we do belong in Division One,’ it required a monumental effort from us to save the game but we did it and that’s a huge positive that we can take.

“Credit to our bowlers as well because they never stopped trying; they kept running in hard all the time. For Neil Wagner to step off the plane and do what he did was superb, Simon Harmer came in and showed us straight away that he was a quality bowler and young Aaron Beard stepped up and bowled beautifully. Jamie Porter bowled well also so it was a real group effort and we kept going all the time.

“I’m sure that the plans that we have put into place for this year are good, we just need to ensure that we execute them for longer periods of time.

“It’s obviously a step-up in standard for the squad this year but the beauty of the Lancashire game was that we showed in the last three sessions particularly that we have got the skill and desire to succeed and compete in the top-flight. We are going to have to apply ourselves, as we did against Lancashire, time and time again from here on in but that’s the challenge we face if we are going to be successful. To bat out as we did and come away with a very solid draw was exceptional given that some people were ready to write us off on Day Two.

“Now we turn our attentions to Somerset. We can go down there in a positive frame of mind and with pride and plenty of confidence.”

Essex squad: ten Doeschate (c), Wheater (wk), Chopra, Browne, Harmer, Wagner, Beard, Westley, Bopara, Cook, Lawrence, Wheater, Porter, Zaidi.

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