Alex Loudon is poised for his Warwickshire Championship debut as the team head to Canterbury for the second game of their Championship season.
Loudon has been named in a 13-man squad for Warwickshire's Championship game against Kent starting tomorrow. He replaces the injured Mark Wagh and will bat at five and provide the offspinning foil to Ashley Giles' left-arm spin.
A frosty reception may await Loudon at Canterbury. Having progressed through Kent's youth system he was seen as future captain. His decision to turn down the offer of a new contract at the club at the end of last season left some Kent members distinctly underwhelmed.
Keith Piper may well not keep his place despite an excellent performance in the game against Glamorgan. Although Piper is named in the squad, Tony Frost will play if he passes a fitness test this afternoon.
Piper's glovework was masterful in the first game, but the club are conscious of Frost's superior ability with the bat and wish to strengthen the middle-order batting. Frost's 'keeping skills are also underrated.
The 21- year- old seam bowler James Anyon has also been named in the squad. Although he is pencilled in as 12th man, his presence in the squad indicates his burgeoning reputation at the club.
He made a good impression on his debut against Somerset on Sunday, beating the bat on several occasions. A well-built seamer in the Alan Richardson mould, Anyon impressed with his control and movement, has a pleasing action and hits the bat quite hard.
Jim Troughton's continuing exclusion from the team does not bode well for his longterm prospects. With Ian Westwood once again starting the season with runs for the seconds, Troughton is slipping down the pecking order all the time. It is a long season, however, and his record in first-class cricket (only Ian Bell and Nick Knight average more than his 42.5) suggests he will win another chance at some stage. n The first day of the seconds two-day game with Lancashire at Old Trafford yesterday was washed out. The sides will resume today, playing a 50 overs a side one-day match instead. n Warwickshire players Moeen Ali (batsman) and Nick James (left-arm spinner) are both part of the England Under-18 squad.
The team will play two matches against a Nottinghamshire side and one against Leicestershire XI. Worcestershire's Richard Jones and Staffordshire's Chris Brook are also in the squad.
Warwickshire squad to play Kent:
N Knight (capt), I Bell, J Trott, M Powell, A Loudon, D Brown, A Giles, H Streak, K Piper (wkt), N Warren, N Carter, J Anyon, T Frost (wkt).
Second XI team: I Westwood, N Poonia, J Troughton, M Ali, T Penney (capt), N James, N Tahir, J Anyon, A Shantry, T Mees, I Stevenson (wkt) England U18 squad: M Ali, N James (both Warwickshire), C Brook (Staffs/Derbyshire), M Chambers, V Chopra (both Essex), M Cummins, L Evans (both Durham), B Godleman (Middlesex), R Jones ( Worcestershire), M Nelson, G White (both Northants), M O'Shea, A Shingler (both Glamorgan), S Spurway (Somerset).
n Sri Lanka seamer Chaminda Vaas is set to make his Worcestershire debut in their Frizzell County Championship match at Durham which starts tomorrow.
The left-arm paceman, who has played 84 Tests and 250 one-day internationals for Sri Lanka, missed the first week of Worcestershire's season due to international commitments.
Worcestershire director of cricket Tom Moody said: "Chaminda's career record, mostly on wickets in the subcontinent, speaks for itself and it is our belief that his style of bowling will ideally suit the playing conditions during the early part of the season.
"As a fast-medium left arm swing bowler, he will complement the rest of our attack." n David Collier is set to outline plans for the future of English cricket today with the media launch of the ECB's Strategic Plan for Cricket 2005-2009.
The England and Wales Cricket Board's chief executive, who succeeded Tim Lamb, has a significant opportunity to make a keynote speech on the intended direction of the sport.
A tranche of amendments to the domestic season announced by the ECB just before Christmas included advance notice of next year's effective discontinuation of English cricket's sole surviving limited-overs knockout competition.
A 'conference' structure is to be employed for the C&G Trophy - which will retain its Lord's final - while the totesport League is to revert to a 40-overs-a-side format.
Those aims are being fostered, however, against a backdrop of concern about the number of cricketers unqualified to play for England - principally due to European law - who are being employed by the 18 first-class counties.
Perhaps most controversial of all, though, was last December's decision by the ECB to sign a broadcast agreement with BSkyB which means this summer is the last for the foreseeable future set to feature live cricket on terrestrial television.