Seventeen-year-old batsman Ateeq Javed is in line for his championship debut when Warwickshire face Division One leaders Durham at Chester-le-Steet tomorrow.
With Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott away on Ashes duty for England, Javed is set for his second deep-end plunge of the summer.
At the start of July, he was in Warwickshire’s top order against England in the three-day Ashes warm-up friendly at Edgbaston. Although he scored only four and three, he showed plenty of courage against James Anderson and Andrew Flintoff at full pace.
Now the highly-rated youngster could make his championship bow against a Durham side which leads Division One by 28 points and is hot favourite to retain the title.
It is a tough fixture for the Bears to head into without their two main batsmen and also with several others, notably captain Ian Westwood and Jim Troughton, struggling for form.
Ant Botha will open the batting having made a good fist of the job when thrust into it against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. He batted with the judgment and compusure expected of an opener and the confidence of a player who has, after all, scored four first-class centuries.
“Ant played very well against a good bowling attack,” Bears director of cricket Ashley Giles said. “Ryan Sidebottom and Charlie Shreck bowled very well but Ant applied himself really well.”
Bell and/or Trott are highly unlikely to be left out of England’s team at The Oval on Thursday but Warwickshire can, when they hand in the team-sheet half an hour before play tomorrow, nominate players to drop out if that happens.