Gareth Batty will be the only first XI regular missing from Worcestershire Royals’ line up for Tuesday’s Twenty20 Cup clash with Warwickshire Bears.
The game is a sell out – the first at New Road since 2006 – which is unsurprising given the rivalry between the two sides, according to chief executive Mark Newton.
In a commercial sense, he said the Twenty20 phenomenon has proved a “lifesaver” to county clubs that do not have Test status since its inception in 2003, generating at least £100,000 per year.
Newton added: “We have always tried to run the club by ending the year with a £50,000 surplus and we have managed to do that – apart from last year, obviously.
“The Twenty20 Cup has been vital for us in that sense and a lifesaver for smaller county clubs.
“It is always nice to sell out but we would expect that against Warwickshire, given that it is one of the few fixtures that away fans can travel to and because of the rivalry between the two clubs.
“Tonight should be a cracking game and there will be plenty for fans to look forward to.”
Indeed there is. Worcestershire sold out all four of their Twenty20 home games in 2006 before flooding upset the season so tonight’s return to a capacity attendance is rather symbolic, just as the appearances of Graeme Hick and Simon Jones will be.
Hick will equal Graham Gooch’s record of 1,195 competitive appearances while Jones will be making his Twenty20 debut against the unbeaten Bears, who have beaten Somerset and ties with Gloucestershire.
Meanwhile, Warwickshire begin a three-day Second XI Chapionship game against Middlesex at Merchant Taylors School today.
The Warwickshire side includes 20-year-old Steff Piolet, a batsman who has progressed through the Sussex set-up but is now looking to accelerate his progress up the cricket ladder by looking for opportunities elsewhere.
He also played one game for Worcestershire Second XI in 2006.
Worcestershire: V Solanki (capt), G Hick, M Ali, B Smith, S Davies (wkt), D Mitchell, S Moore, G Andrew, K Ali, S Jones, S Magoffin.
Warwickshire: J Trott, N Carter, J Troughton, T Frost (wkt), I Westwood (capt), M Powell, A Botha, T Groenewald, I Salisbury, C Woakes, C Martin, N Poonia, J Anyon.
Warwickshire Second XI: P Wilshaw, S Benton, L Parker (capt), N James, S Piolet, K Barker, R Johnson (wkt), A Miller, S Hole, S Choudary, L Barker, J Ord.