England’s disastrous winter in Australia and New Zealand has put added emphasis and interest on the opening salvos of the County Championship that start this week. There is a feeling that change could well be in the air with regards to the composition of the England test side – with the struggles down under putting a lot of places up for grabs, due to a mixture of players either struggling to make the grade at the highest level and a few players who are at the back end of their careers and with question marks on how long they can or want to go on with the rigours of test match cricket.
The result of which sees the opening match’s offering a real opportunity for a lot of players to put their names into the selectors conscious with early season wickets and particularly runs with numerous batting spots seemingly up for grabs. The added scrutiny on teams and players form in the early weeks of the season is a welcome boost to the Championship with the season starting in its usual damp and cold conditions and suffering with the inevitable comparison to the IPL taking place at the same time in front of packed houses with the glitz and razzmatazz as well as the cricketing worlds attention to it.
Aside from the intrigue of the first few months offering a pathway to new players and talent potentially playing on the big stage for England this summer. The English county season will be graced with some of the very best players in the world playing in front of the shires in the coming months with the news that Chetsehwar Pujara, Aiden Markram, Hashim Alma joined by Kane Williamson to showcase some of the best batting talent in the world and two of the best fast bowlers of recent times in Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn joining the Championship as well.
With regards to betting opportunity’s Bet365 and William Hill have offered in play odds on the outcome of four-day matches with the proviso of “draw no bet”. Backing a four-day game pre-match is fraught with difficulty at the start of the season with no knowledge of what teams will be selected, batting orders, bowling combinations and possibly most importantly how wickets will play.
Betting after a day’s play, can sometimes answer a lot of these questions with regards to the pitch and the sides selected and can allow a more considered and accurate prediction of which way the game will go with the safety net of a draw and the stake being returned which is a bit of a god send with the usual April showers kick starting the season!
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