Hampshire CCC Match Preview - 8/4/21
Leicestershire CCC get their 2021 LV= County Championship campaign up and running with a home fixture, at the newly rebranded Uptonsteel County Ground, with Hampshire CCC making the trip to the Midlands.
The Running Foxes head into the fixture on the back of four warm-up fixtures against Derbyshire CCC, Loughborough UCCE, Nottinghamshire CCC and Northamptonshire CCC respectively.
The visitors, similarly, come into the fixture on the back of their pre-season in which they competed against Northamptonshire CCC and Sussex CCC.
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Watch the Foxes live through our online streaming service
As confirmed by Leicestershire County Cricket Club last month, every LV= County Championship fixture played at the Uptonsteel County Ground will be available to watch via our live streaming service, free of charge.
This season, the Club has worked tirelessly to enhance its live streaming service for all Running Foxes Members and fans that want to tune in and follow Leicestershire throughout the 2021 season.
This year’s live streaming service will include up to five cameras, BBC commentary, graphic overlays and will be available to watch on PC, mobile, tablet, games consoles and TVs via the Club’s social media channels.
The two teams last met in the County Championship in 2014 with Hampshire winning by an innings and 34 runs in the first fixture at the Ageas Bowl, and by 278 runs subsequently at Grace Road.
Angus Robson hit 115 for Leicestershire in the first match while 231 from Jimmy Adams underpinned a mammoth 497-8 declared from the hosts.
When the two teams meet, Leicestershire CCC will have a different look and feel to the squad as no current Running Foxes played in either match from 2014. This is truly, #ANewBreed.
The first match of last season in red-ball cricket resulted in a win for Leicestershire in a nail-biting clash with Lancashire in the Bob Willis Trophy. The Running Foxes chased down 150 in the second innings in fewer than 16 overs, thanks to an outstanding 73 from 41 balls from skipper Colin Ackermann.
This was the second consecutive opening day win, having beaten Sussex in 2019. Leicestershire are now three unbeaten on opening days following a draw in 2018, also against Sussex.
Hassan Azad was superb for Leicestershire in his debut County Championship season in 2019, scoring 1189 runs at an average of 54.04 and giving the Running Foxes valuable stability at the top of the order. A similar return this year would be most welcome, and he is a vital cog in our red-ball batting line-up.
Similarly, Colin Ackermann is another vital batter for Leicestershire. His unbeaten 73 from 41 balls last season in our opener in the Bob Willis Trophy against Lancashire was match-winning, and our skipper scored 379 runs in that shortened tournament last season at an average of 54.14. His current first-class average sits at exactly 41, and he's accumulated over 8000 career runs in the longest format.
Ben Mike showed his continued development as a bowler of real potential with a team-leading nine wickets in last year's Bob Willis Trophy. Our exciting all-rounder is also capable of strong batting displays as well, and has already hit two first-class fifties including a career-best 72 - not to mention the winning six in our T20 Vitality Blast victory against Yorkshire last season.
Hampshire CCC - ones to watch
For our visitors, a danger man will undoubtedly be Mohammad Abbas, who starred as an overseas player for Leicestershire in 2018 and 2019, taking 79 County Championship wickets across the two seasons, at a cost of just 20.67 runs per wicket. The Pakistan international has also taken 84 Test wickets at a cost of 22.80 and will be making his debut for Hampshire in this clash.
Pairing Abbas as an overseas pace bowler is Kyle Abbott, who has converted his Kolpak deal into an overseas one. The South African has taken 182 County Championship wickets in the last three seasons for Hampshire, at a cost of just 18.63 runs per wicket. Seeing off this dangerous pace-bowling duo will be key to Leicestershire's fortunes in this match.
With the bat, captain James Vince will be looking to perform well this season in his bid to get back into the England Test squad. He has scored 1,953 runs in Division One across the last three seasons at an average of 37.56, and has also played 13 Test matches for England with a career-best of 83, averaging 24.90.
Paul Nixon has named a 13-man squad for the opening fixture of the 2021 LV= County Championship season.
Harry Swindells picks up where he left off in 2020, donning the gloves for the Running Foxes in the red ball competition with Lewis Hill coming in as a batsman.
Rishi Patel is the only new face to make the squad for the Hampshire CCC clash.
Leicestershire from 13: Colin Ackermann (C), Callum Parkinson (VC), Hassan Azad, Harry Dearden, Alex Evans, Sam Evans, Gavin Griffiths, Lewis Hill, Dieter Klein, Ben Mike, Rishi Patel, Harry Swindells (wk), Chris Wright.
Match Sponsor: We would like to thank Uptonsteel for being our match sponsor.