Cosgrove ready for Gloucestershire challenge

Club Captain Mark Cosgrove wants Leicestershire to end the season strongly, starting with tomorrow’s Specsavers County Championship visit of Gloucestershire (10.30am start). 

The team put in a strong performance at promotion-chasing Kent last week and a young Foxes side then showed fight against a strong West Indies touring side over the weekend.

Cosgrove is eager for the team to build on those two performances with three red ball matches to go against Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Northants. 

He said: “We have three County Championship games left and it is vital that we end the season with some good performances and good results. If we can play as well as we can, we know we are a match for anyone.

“The players are fully focused on the Gloucestershire game and are looking forward to the challenge that is in store. We are two evenly matched sides and are looking to produce a good performance and get a win at home for our Members and supporters.

“We would be disappointed not to win at least two of these three games, especially having two at home. It’s important to go into pre-season with some wins under our belt.”

In squad news, Michael Carberry is set for his home debut, Ben Raine completed his comeback game at Kent with no ill-effects while left arm paceman Dieter Klein, who impressed against the Windies, is added to the 13-man squad that travelled to Canterbury.

All-rounder Neil Dexter has taken two consecutive five-wicket hauls in the competition while Clint McKay and Mat Pillans were also part of a strong seam showing against Kent.

Gavin Griffiths took two wickets in an over against West Indies while Callum Parkinson provides Leicestershire’s spin option having signed a new contract at the FCG today.

Fast bowlers Zak Chappell and Richard Jones also stepped up their comebacks from injury by playing for both the Second XI at Notts and forming an impressive four-pronged attack against the West Indies alongside Klein and Griffiths. They could soon be back in contention for a place in the Specsavers County Championship side.

The number of bowling options is pleasing for Cosgrove, who thought a young team performed admirably against the tourists.

“The bowlers did fantastically and had the Windies 70-odd for 5 at lunch, and Harry Dearden and Sam Evans also batted well in difficult conditions,” said Cosgrove. “We got plenty out of that game and the boys enjoyed playing against an international team.

“Nobody did themselves any harm, Dieter [Klein] and Zak [Chappell] bowled quickly and had the ball swinging around, and Gav does what he does - he hits the seam and is very skilful.

“Parky [Callum Parkinson] has done really well this year, he has stepped up and taken his opportunities. 

“He was fantastic for us in T20 and has also done well in red ball cricket, including smacking a 70-odd last week and bowling well. Parky held his nerve last week bowling against Stevo [Darren Stevens] and [Matt] Coles.”

Gloucestershire have included batsman James Bracey, who made a half-century against Leicestershire in the opening game of the season for Loughborough MCCU, as part of a 12-man squad. 

Bracey is joined by a brace of seamers; Josh Shaw, who is on loan from Yorkshire, and left armer Matt Taylor.

Leicestershire (from): Cosgrove (capt), Aadil, Ackermann, Carberry, Dearden, Dexter, Eckersley, Hill, Griffiths, Klein, McKay, Parkinson, Pillans, Raine.

Gloucestershire (from): Mustard (capt), Dent, Bancroft, Roderick, Bracey, Hankins, J.Taylor, Noema-Barnett, Smith, M.Taylor, Norwell, Shaw.