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County Championship 2024: five players to watch out for this season
Cricket Sport

County Championship 2024: five players to watch out for this season

Scott Boland (Durham)

Boland has played 104 first-class games, of which only five have been outside Australia, and had a negligible impact on last summer’s Ashes – two games, 47 overs, 231 runs, two wickets – but could be a canny signing for newly-promoted Durham, who will have him until the end of July, enough for nine County Championship fixtures and all of the T20 Blast except finals day.

When the signing was announced in October Marcus North, Durham’s director of cricket, said he had been considering Boland for some time and it’s no surprise: when Boland made his first-class debut for Victoria back in November 2011 he took two wickets, dismissing North in both innings.

Jordan Cox (Essex)

Cox joined from Kent at the end of last season as a replacement for Dan Lawrence, who has moved to Surrey, and will be aiming for recovery after a dip in first-class cricket last year – his average dropped to 24.06 from 45.85 in 2022 – and from a hectic winter. He has since played the Abu Dhabi T10, Australia’s Big Bash, the ILT20 in the UAE and the Pakistan Super League, winning the latter.

He says he is ready to bat “wherever they need me. I can hopefully do whatever they require. If that’s opening the batting, if they need a four, if they need someone at five, I’m happy to go wherever.” An opening partnership with Dean Elgar, who has replaced the retired Alastair Cook, looks intriguing and full of potential.

Josh Hull (Leicestershire)

Hull has made six first-class appearances, plus nine in 50-over games, including an impressive contribution to last year’s One-Day Cup final, and five in T20s.

Josh Hull celebrates victory in the One-Day Cup finalView image in fullscreen

At 6ft 7in he was always destined to stand out from the crowd – he has already been namechecked by Rob Key, England’s director of men’s cricket, as a player with international potential. “Everything’s escalated so quick. At the end of the day I’m only 19 so I’ve got a lot of growing to do,” Hull said. “Where I’m at now, I’m nowhere near that finished product.”

James Rew (Somerset)

It would be hard for the 20-year-old to improve on last season – five centuries, including a mammoth 221 against Hampshire, and an average of 57.15 across 22 innings – but it will be fun watching him try.

Rew batted at No 6 last season but after playing at four, five and six during England Lions’ winter tour of India he opened in a couple of Somerset’s warm-up games, and a gentle nudge up the order could be in the offing.

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Like Jos Buttler, Rew came through at King’s College before joining Somerset, though staff at his school say he was probably the better cricketer – and they have yet another promising wicketkeeper-batter coming through at the moment in the shape of Rew’s 16-year-old brother, Thomas.

Tawanda Muyeye (Kent)

Muyeye has been the subject of intense hype since he and his family, asylum-seekers from Zimbabwe, were given leave to remain in 2021 and he signed his first professional contract weeks later, Kent beating off competition from Sussex and Nottinghamshire.

Tawanda Muyeye photographed at Canterbury cricket ground in KentView image in fullscreen

Last year he started to show why, forcing his way into the first team with a string of outstanding scores in the Second XI – 136, 119, 3, 100, 0, 97 and 92 not out in successive innings at the start of the 2023 season – and then averaging 35.68 in his nine County Championship appearances, with a 205-ball 179 against Northamptonshire cementing his place.

In October he was named Kent’s emerging player of the year, and if the club’s new batting coach, Toby Radford, is as good as several of his new charges say he is – Muyeye has called him “a batting genius” – he should keep improving.

Source: theguardian.com