Changes At Trent Bridge

After a disappointing campaign last season Nottinghamshire CCC will be looking for an improved performance this coming summer. Their opening fixture is a friendly with Cardiff UCCE at the end of March, and the first County Championship game is against Essex starting on April 5. New Zealand opener Will Young is set to play in seven Championship games and all of the T20 Blast matches this season. Last season he scored 299 runs for the county in three games at an average of 59.80 including a top score of 145 on his debut. With Stuart Broad having retired and Jake Ball going to Somerset, Notts will still have the services of South African Dane Paterson as the other overseas player.

The county have recruited the services of three new players all from Worcestershire. Batsman Jack Haynes made his first-class debut in 2019 and has represented England at international level for the Under 19s and the Lions’ team. He has signed a three-year deal, having already played in 45 first-class matches and having a strike-rate of 143 in 34 twenty20 outings. The 23-year old is the third Pears player to make a move to Trent Bridge after seamers Josh Tongue and Dillon Pennington. Tongue made his first-class debut in 2016 and impressed enough for him to make his England test match debut last summer. Starring at Lord’s cricket ground against Ireland, Tongue captured five wickets for 66 runs in the second innings to help England to a comfortable win. He appeared against Australia later in the season, taking five more wickets at the home of cricket.

Tongue has so far taken 177 wickets in 50 first-class matches. The 24-year old Pennington, one year younger than Tongue, has featured in 45 first-class games having made his debut against Nottinghamshire in 2018. He was an England representative in the 2018 Under-19 World Cup. Looking to the international scene, Trent Bridge will be the venue when West Indies play England in a test match from 18 to 22 July, the first contest at the ground between the two teams since 2012. In that game, the home team were the easy victors winning by nine wickets with skipper Andrew Strauss scoring 186 runs in the match. Later on in the summer, England will host Australia in a One-Day International in September. The previous meeting between the teams at Trent Bridge saw the hosts amass a world record total in 2018.

With Nottinghamshire’s very own Alex Hales smashing 147 off 92 balls, and contributions from Jonny Bairstow (139), Jason Roy (82), and skipper Eoin Morgan (67 off 30), England made 481 for 6 from their 50 overs, the highest ever total in One-Day Internationals. They went on to win the game by a massive 242 runs. The 2023 domestic season saw Nottinghamshire come sixth in Division One of the County Championship. Having won the Division Two title in 2022, the county managed only four wins, including the final game of the season; a two-wicket victory over Middlesex at Trent Bridge after chasing a target of 207. Ben Slater was the hero with 140 in the first innings and a top score of 49 in the run chase. Joe Clarke was the leading batsman for the county with 1053 runs at an average of 50.14, while fast bowler Brett Hutton was the top wicket taker in the Division with 62 victims at 21.40 apiece. Notts managed to come fifth in their group in the One-Day Cup, and reached the quarter-final of the Vitality Blast T20 competition. At the season end, Steven Mullaney stepped down as the club captain after six years in charge. Opener Haseeb Hameed will take over the skipper’s role for the coming 2024 season.

However, the biggest news at the end of the term was the departure of county legend Samit Patel who joined near neighbours Derbyshire. A stalwart of more than two decades, the 39-year old made his county debut in July 2002 against West Indies A. Having played in every domestic twenty20 season since its inception in 2003, Patel has made the most appearances in the competition, hitting 4217 runs and taking 208 wickets in 232 matches. He helped Nottinghamshire to lift two t20 titles in 2017 and 2020, but only managed 136 runs and 11 wickets in 12 matches in 2023, having not appeared in a first-class fixture since 2020. His unbeaten 64 in the 2017 t20 final versus Warwickshire was one of the highlights of his career. During the same season, he hit consecutive double hundreds in the County Championship, an unbeaten 257 against Gloucestershire, and then 247 playing Leicestershire, thus becoming the only Notts player to achieve this feat. He is also the only player to be awarded the Man of the Match vote in both a Lord’s one-day final and a twenty20 domestic final. Apart from the t20 triumphs, Patel was also a twice Championship winner and twice a one-day competition victor. Apart from being a member of Trent Rockets that won The Hundred competition in 2022, Patel is also in an elite group to play internationally for England in test matches, one-day internationals, and twenty20 cricket.

*Article provided by Hitesh Darji (Cricket Correspondent)

*Main image @TrentBridge Kevin Shine & Peter Moores (right) will once again lead Notts into the 2024 summer.

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