WORCESTERSHIRE captain Daryl Mitchell has added his voice to the growing chorus questioning whether the university matches should have first-class status.

The debate was brought into focus last week when Durham MCCU were bowled out for 18 by Durham.

Mitchell leads his side into a three-day clash with Oxford MCCU at The Parks today (11am) but, amid an already-congested fixture list, he believes county sides could do without the extra match.

Mtchell said: “The university games are not a waste of time, but whether they should have first-class status is a different matter.

“I don’t think the standard is anywhere near that of first-class cricket and my own personal opinion is that there is a place for it in pre-season games, but perhaps not during an already-packed season.

“But it is good practice – particularly for the batters.

“As a batsman, there’s no better place to improve and develop your skills than out in the middle – albeit against a university team.

“It gives batters the chance to spend time out in the middle, gives the senior bowlers the chance to have a rest and hands opportunities to the younger bowlers to impress.”

County director of cricket Steve Rhodes has included fit-again all-rounder Gareth Andrew in his 12-man squad.

Worcestershire: Mitchell, Klinger, Solanki, Moeen, Kervezee, Cameron, Scott, Choudhry, Andrew, Shantry, Harrison, Russell.