Cheltenham is a wonderful place to play cricket - Nixon

Leicestershire CCC head into their final Specsavers County Championship fixture away at Gloucestershire CCC before the 2019 Vitality Blast campaign gets underway next Friday (July 19).

The Foxes head into the game on the back of their first defeat in five after losing out to Durham CCC at the Fischer County Ground earlier this week.

Head Coach Paul Nixon has had some time to reflect on the performance and will be looking to take the positives down to Cheltenham tomorrow. He said: “We did some good things in the Durham game; the way we bowled and fielded in the first innings was outstanding.

“Hassan Azad and Paul Horton started very well as well, and Mark Cosgrove played beautifully. We still had belief that we could win that game even though it was a big chase.”

Leicestershire CCC and Gloucestershire CCC faced each other only two fixtures ago, and the contest culminated in a high-scoring draw with over 1,200 runs being posted between the two teams in a game that saw Azad earn his first and second Specsavers County Championship centuries.

Nixon will also be looking back at that fixture to pull positives out and take them in to next week. He said: “We take good positivity that we have played well against their players.

“It was a close fought game between to very similar sides. We know that we have both played good cricket and not got over the line at times and it is time now for us to stand up.”

The fixture is also the second of the season that Leicestershire CCC will be playing at an outground, with the previous one taking place at Aigburth against Lancashire CCC which ended in a rain-affected draw.

County have a decent record at the college ground, including a win on their last visit in 2016. The fixture will be the first in a whole host of games to be played at the Cheltenham Cricket Festival and Nixon expects a good atmosphere.

He said: “Cheltenham is a wonderful place to play cricket. There will be a great, partisan atmosphere with marquees all around the ground. It is a wonderful festival that they have.

“Generally, it is a good batting pitch and it could well turn there. We will look at the wicket on Sunday.”

Following on from the loss against Durham CCC last week, Nixon is eager to earn the Foxes’ second Specsavers County Championship win of the season before the Vitality Blast gets underway: “We want to play a positive brand of cricket in every game we play,” he said.

“It is important that we come away from Gloucestershire with a victory singing our team song and ready to come home and deliver a really good T20 competition.

“We are preparing, getting things ready and making sure that no stone is left unturned to make sure that we go forward ready and fresh with some exciting and dynamic cricket.”

The Foxes have named a 13-man travelling party for the trip to Cheltenham with Ben Mike returning from a successful loan spell at Warwickshire CCC, and Harry Swindells coming into the squad. Callum Parkinson is also in contention.

Leicestershire CCC (from 13): Horton (capt), Abbas, Ackermann, Azad, Cosgrove, Davis, Dearden, Dexter, Griffiths, Mike, Parkinson, Swindells (wk), Wright.