The English Domestic Cricket season 2017 starts this April 7, 2017, with the first match of County Championship. Last year’s runners up, Essex will host Lancashire. Last year Middlesex were the County Cricket season 2016 champions when they went unbeaten in pool A, and won the final against Essex at Lords. Middlesex played 16 matches, won 6 and drew 10 matches, they finished 1st with 230 points. Keaton Jennings who plays for Durham was the top scorer with 1,548 runs with an average of 64.50. He scored 7 centuries and 2 half-centuries. He was player of the tournament. His performance also earned him a test cap for England’s tour of India in which he scored a century on his debut. Jeetan Patel (Warwickshire) from the New Zealand took 69 wickets, he was the leading wicket taker in last season.
Last season was just not about top scorers and leading wicket takers but it was a great opportunity for the youngsters. Haseeb Hameed ( 20, Lancashire ) also had a great form last season which earned him a test cap and he became the youngest batsman to open for England. He scored 1,198 runs in 27 innings with an average of 49.91 for the Lancashire including 4 centuries and 7 half-centuries. Ben Duckett (22, Northamptonshire) was top scorer in the pool B, where he scores 1,338 runs in 24 innings with an average of 60.81 and an unforgettable inning of 282 not out.
Few South Africans will be joining county sides on Kolpak deal this year after the quota system started by the South African Cricket Board. Rilee Rossouw and Kyle Abbott has signed for Hampshire on a Kolpak deal. Kevin Pietersen will be returning to the English domestic cricket for Surrey but only for the Natwest Blast T20. Both South Africans, Stiaan Van Zyl and David Wiese have signed a Kolpak deal with Sussex. Stiaan Van Zyl is a decent batsman and a promising talent. Mohammad Amir from Pakistan will join Essex from June till September. I believe playing county cricket will help Amir a lot to regain his form and adopt the English conditions. The inform South African test opener, Stephen Cook will join Durham from April till July and Tom Latham ( New Zealand ) will replace him. Lancashire signed Pakistani ace Junaid Khan for Natwest Blast T20. Sharjeel Khan will join Leicestershire Natwest Blast T20. His arrival seems to be impossible since he’s going under investigation for the spot fixing scandal.
Yorkshire’s Andrew Gayle has taken retirement from the game. Peter Handscomb from Australia will join Yorkshire as an overseas player. I think it’ll be a great addition to the Yorkshire’s batting order.
That’s all for County Championship and transfers, time to talk about the Royal London One day Cup. Royal London One day Cup has been successful so far and the spectators leave no chance to miss it. I personally think it is the best one day domestic tournament in the world. Warwickshire won it last year against Surrey chasing 137. It was the last match of Jonathan Trott and he said goodbye to the game in the best possible way. He was Man Of The Match.
This year Hampshire has a good chance to give tough time to other teams and grab some points. Their top order seems to be strong with James Vince (Captain), Rile Rossouw and the 23 years old all-rounder Reece Topley. Michael Carberry will be making a comeback after fighting against cancer. Carberry can provide a good role in the middle order. Hampshire’s decision to sign Kyle Abbott on Kolpak will also improve their bowling. If Liam Dawson will be available for Hampshire this year during the tournament, will help Hampshire a lot as they need a spinner. He can bowl and bat. His bowling has been very effective so far and adapts the conditions very fast. James Vince will hopefully be in form like last year, as he wants to fight for his place in the England Squad.
Now lets move to the players every other team should look after. Alex Hales. We all know this name. The Nottinghamshire man has been destructive in every other match he plays. He was destructive last year as well. He recently scored a century against West Indies after coming back from an injury. Rile Rossouw is also a great batsman, places the ball in the exact direction he wants, right into the middle of the bat. Can bat at 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th position.
Now coming to the bowlers. Mark Wood is probably the most effective and dangerous bowler in English domestics since last two seasons. He’s fast and his short pitched deliveries really fire ups the show. He will be a key player alongside Tymal Mills for Durham.
English County is not doubt one of the best domestic cricket in the world and everyone loves watching it. If you start watching it, you will love it as well. It displays sheer class and quality cricket. It’s a dream for every player to be a part of County Cricket.
Can’t wait for this summer when the season starts and I suggest you all not to miss specially the Royal London One day Cup. I’m really excited for this wonderful season ahead. Love the game.