It will be the battle of the top two when Worcestershire take on Lancashire in tomorrow’s Specsavers County Championship Division Two encounter at Emirates Old Trafford.
Although it is very early days in the 2019 campaign, both sides have made impressive starts by winning their opening two games with Worcestershire four points ahead.
First Team Coach Alex Gidman has announced a 13 strong squad to face the Red Rose County.
All-rounder Wayne Parnell (rested) – the County’s leading wicket-taker in the Royal London One-Day Cup – and batsman Callum Ferguson (family commitment) are both back available to face the Red Rose county.
Paceman Adam Finch has also earned a call-up after some impressive performances for the Seconds.
But Gidman confirmed Josh Tongue has been ruled out through a niggle which will be monitored over the next few days.
He said: “It’s great to go up there and play against a very good competitive team in Lancashire.
“It will give us a good indication of where we are at in our own game.
“They are a very strong team, particularly at the moment. They’ve got a very strong bowling outfit which will be a great challenge for our batsmen.
“We will focus on those guys on Sunday-Monday and we are really looking forward to the challenge.”
Worcestershire have accrued 47 points out of a possible 48 in defeating Leicestershire and Durham.
Gidman said: “It’s been fantastic. I’m really proud of the lads. They are working extremely hard. To play cricket as they have done is very mentally fatiguing and physically fatiguing.
“They are really enjoying it. They should be really satisfied with their work and long may it continue.
“There is the opportunity to fresh up the team? Yes – and we will do. We’re lucky at the moment that we’ve got 13-14 fully fit members of the squad and we’ve got to be smart with how we use those guys.
“Wayne will definitely come into the team and we will look at who we can actually rest.
“We won’t be dropping players, we will be resting players and trying to make the right cricketing decisions as often as possible.
“We are lucky at the moment. It may not last forever with the injuries so we’ve got to keep the guys as fresh as possible for as long as possible.”
Gidman is viewing the Lancashire game as the second in a group of three before there is a gap ahead of another five Championship matches ahead of the Vitality Blast.
He said: “For me it is a three game block and then we have a week off before we have another couple of games here so for me the match against Durham was the first of three games.
“We go to Old Trafford and then we’ve got Middlesex here. We will try to make the right decisions for those games.
“It has worked this week and we will try our best for the next two weeks and then we will review things after the Middlesex game here.”