Warwickshire v Essex: Leaders welcome back key men
PUBLISHED: 15:21 11 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:21 11 September 2017
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Essex head to Edgbaston to face Warwickshire needing another 37 points to clinch the County Championship title for the first time in a quarter of a century.
The leaders have three games remaining, after a draw from their rain-affected match with nearest challengers Lancashire in Manchester last week protected their 36-point lead.
And they now enjoy the prospect of having some missing stars returning to the fold for the match with bottom club Warwickshire.
Captain Ryan ten Doeschate missed the latest match after he returned to South Africa for personal reasons but he is now back to take charge of the side.
Fast bowler Mohammad Amir was absent due to a back problem last week, meaning the county went into the Lancashire game without an overseas player. Although his stint with the county is now over because of Pakistan commitments, Amir is replaced by Neil Wagner.
The New Zealand paceman proved to be an influential force for Essex at the start of this present campaign before taking up duties with his national side but he now returns to spearhead their attack through the remainder of the campaign.
England batsman Tom Westley will also return to boost the batting department and head coach Chris Silverwood is looking forward to welcoming all three players back into the fold.
He said: “All being well, Ryan will be back. He has been an inspirational captain, not just the way that he has led the troops on the field but his personal contributions as well.
“He is a very, very good cricketer. He tends to think of others first and pushes them forward and quietly goes about his business and is a superb leader.
“Neil started the season with us and helped us along as we came to terms with life in Division One after getting promoted and it will be great superb to have his bowling and his enthusiasm around us. He is a great team man and has a big heart and a big engine and he drags you forward.
“Tom has scored some big runs and so it’s a very exciting prospect to have him back amongst us.
“Obviously the chance of winning the title is getting ever closer but we will take one game at a time, there is no point in looking further ahead. One of the things that we really need to do is to stay focused on the present, if we do that, then the bigger picture will fall into place.
“I keep saying that these are really exciting times for the club but we must focus on the match with Warwickshire and make sure all our processes are spot on.
“If we do that, then we could take that further step nearer the title.”
Essex: Ryan ten Doeschate (27); Varun Chopra (6); James Foster (7); Nick Browne (10); Simon Harmer (11); Neil Wagner (13); Sam Cook (16); Tom Westley (21); Paul Walter (22); Ravi Bopara (25); Dan Lawrence (28); Adam Wheater (31); Jamie Porter (44).