Essex host rivals Kent as new first-class season begins

Essex players face the camera at their media day ahead of the 2022 season

Essex players face the camera at their media day ahead of the 2022 season - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

After a pre-season that included 40 degree heat, snow and everything in between; the new first-class season gets underway on Thursday.

Essex play host to local rivals Kent at Chelmsford, with play getting underway at 11am, and back in Division One, a league they’ve dominated in recent years.

And the 2022 LV= Insurance County Championship also signals the return of the two-division first-class structure last used in 2019.

Alongside Essex and Kent in Divison One are last year’s champions Warwickshire and runners-up Lancashire. Joining them are the pair of teams from the South West, Somerset and Gloucestershire, as well as Surrey, Yorkshire and Northamptonshire.

Essex will be looking to continue their strong form from the end of last season when they beat Northamptonshire in record time to claim the Division Two title.

The club is well placed after a shrewd off-season of recruitment, having added three high-profile names to their squad with overseas seamer Mark Steketee joining leg-spinning all-rounder Matt Critchley and wicket-keeper batter Adam Rossington.

Jamie Porter has recovered from a niggle sustained during pre-season and after a successful run out against Middlesex at Merchant Taylors’ School is available for selection.

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The squad also received a boost earlier this week with the return of Dan Lawrence from England’s tour of the West Indies, where he furthered his reputation as one of the country’s leading young batters.

Simon Harmer, however, will miss the opening two games of the season while he is with the South Africa test team.

Essex squad to face Kent: 21 Tom Westley (c), 14 Aaron Beard, 10 Nick Browne, 26 Alastair Cook, 16 Sam Cook, 20 Matt Critchley, 28 Dan Lawrence, 19 Michael Pepper, 44 Jamie Porter, 17 Adam Rossington, 29 Shane Snater, 6 Mark Steketee, 31 Adam Wheater.