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Leicestershire ready for Pears test

After facing table toppers Lancashire in the NatWest T20 Blast last night, Leicestershire CCC now has a difficult assignment as they look to get off the mark in the LV=CC.

The team travel to leaders Worcestershire tomorrow (11am start), who will have mystery off-spinner Saeed Ajmal in their line-up before he leaves for international duty.

Ajmal has taken 56 wickets in eight matches at 15.91, his tally of six five-wicket hauls including a matchwinning performance at Grace Road.

The off-spinner has claimed two ten-wicket match hauls and to illustrate how well Ajmal has performed, his nearest rivals, impressive seam duo Michael Hogan and Mark Footitt, have 40 victims apiece.

That was one of a number of games that Leicestershire have been in a good position in during the campaign, but ultimately things went against the team.

Although the same scenario happened against Kent this week, Senior Coach Ben Smith was pleased with the attitude shown and is now looking for a reaction at New Road.

During an interview with BBC Radio Leicester’s Richard Rae, he said: “The attitude and commitment shown on the last day was great, and the players deserve great credit for that. The bowlers ran in all day and Jigar tried to hold an end up on a pitch that didn’t spin, which wasn’t easy for him.

“A lot of our cricket has been fantastic but the word ‘consistency’ stands out to me. Doing all three disciplines well twice in a four-day game is what is required.

"We have again done well individually at times but it is all about identifying situations in the game where we need to play slightly differently. Josh Cobb did that with a 50-strike rate hundred on the third day.

“The players have reacted well to losing games that we felt we should have won this season, and I’m looking for that again. Saeed Ajmal is a difficult customer on any surface and it will be about how we look to score against him. We will also make sure we cover our bases when it comes to selecting our own bowling attack.”

As well as possessing the division’s leading wicket-taker, Worcestershire have seen new-ball duo Jack Shantry and Charlie Morris in excellent form. The Pears also have the second highest run-scorer in Daryl Mitchell, who needs 54 runs to move to 1,000 this summer.

Leicestershire batsman Angus Robson is the fifth highest accumulator in the division, his 745 runs coming at an average just below 40, including five half-centuries. Niall O’Brien sits just outside the top ten scorers in the division having scored 630 runs to date.

Nathan Buck has taken the most wickets of any seamer who will be on show at New Road, his 33 wickets coming at an average below 29, including three five-fors.

County has named a 13-man squad for the game, with spinner James Sykes and batsman Matthew Boyce being added to the eleven who played against Kent. Ramnaresh Sarwan is unavailable because of a back injury.

Squad: Smith, Robson, Eckersley, Redfern, Cobb, Boyce, O'Brien, Taylor, Raine, Naik, Sykes, Buck, Shreck.


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