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Lucas on stand-by for injury-hit County
SKIPPER Daryl Mitchell fears his bowling unit is ‘down to the bare bones’ ahead of this week’s crunch LV= County Championship Division Two battle with Essex at Chelmsford (10.30am).
The New Road club’s captain is already without front-line all-rounder Gareth Andrew, who is struggling with a back problem, while fellow seamer Graeme Cessford faces a late fitness test on a knee injury.
With young pacemen Chris Russell and Charlie Morris also sidelined, the County are short of seam bowling options and veteran left-armer David Lucas has travelled with the squad as cover for Cessford.
On the batting front, Sri Lankan right-hander Thilan Samaraweera misses the Chelmsford clash after injuring his hand in last week’s nine-wicket win over bottom-of-the-table Leicestershire.
Mitchell said: “Thilan split the webbing in his hand at Grace Road, so he won’t play in this match against Essex, but Ross Whiteley will come in for him. Apart from that, as far as our team is concerned, it all depends on whether or not we play two spinners.
“Also, Cess will have a late fitness test before the game after he injured his knee in the game against Leicestershire, so Dave has travelled with us just in case.
“With Cess and Gaz Andrew struggling, Charlie and Richard Jones injured and Chris only just coming back to fitness with the second XI this week, we really are down to the bare bones in the bowling attack.
“Cess has done pretty well since coming into the team and has bowled with reasonable pace and decent control. He has done a good job for us and I hope he will be able to keep doing that going into the final weeks of the season.”
The hosts, who are competing with Worcestershire and Northamptonshire for the division’s second promotion spot, are not without their own problems with overseas signing Gautam Gambhir having returned to his native India for family reasons.
The 31-year-old left-hander, who scored a century against Gloucestershire last week, only joined Essex last month.
Meanwhile, Worcestershire’s star batsman Moeen Ali has extended his lead at the top of the FTI Most Valuable Player Rankings after helping his side to a comfortable victory over Leicestershire.
The Worcestershire star added another 27 points to his total by picking up a wicket and hitting another 88 runs in the nine-wicket win. In doing so he became the competition’s top-scorer during the month of August, accumulating almost 20 points more than Derbyshire captain Wayne Madsen.
With second-placed Samit Patel of Nottinghamshire not in action, Moeen also moved 33 points ahead in the overall race with less than a month of the season still to go.
The winner of the competition, which rewards players for every run scored, wicket taken and catch held, will scoop a first prize of £10,000.
Worcestershire (from): Mitchell, Pardoe, Moeen, Whiteley, Fell, Leach, Johnson, Shantry, Cessford, Richardson, Choudhry, Lucas.
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