Worcestershire Vitality Blast finals day batting hero Ben Cox will return to the Specsavers County Championship side for the clash with Essex at Chelmsford.

Head Coach Kevin Sharp praised the “brilliant response” of Cox after he was left out of the side for last week’s Championship encounter with Surrey at Blackfinch New Road.

Cox hit a century for the Seconds and then made two outstanding contributions on Saturday at Edgbaston to help the Rapids defeat Lancashire Lightning and Sussex Sharks.

He will return to keep wicket at Chelmsford although Alex Milton, who has played purely as a batsman in some recent games, also in the squad.

Sharp said: “Someone had to play outstandingly well for us to get over the line on Saturday and Ben Cox did that.

“He showed what he is capable of this weekend and he is back in the team for this Championship match

“It was a very difficult decision on Ben. He is such a key member of this team but the decision was made on the balance of the team and on some performances.

“It was so tough, and it was tough for Ben to accept that, but I have to say he responded brilliantly.

“He went and made a hundred in the second team, he practiced superbly well for Saturday and he went out and did what he did. He deserves to be back in the team.”

Daryl Mitchell will again skipper the side in the absence of Brett D’Oliveira (split finger) and Ross Whiteley (knee) is also ruled out.

But Wayne Parnell, who today signed a three year Kolpak deal with Worcestershire until the end of the 2021 season, is part of the squad.

He has extended his stay for this season to replace Ravichandran Ashwin who was ruled out through injury.

Adam Finch joins his England Under-19 team-mate Dillon Pennington as part of the squad. The pair shared the new ball this winter during the ICC World Cup in New Zealand.

All-rounder Ed Barnard said: “We’ve got a massive game at Essex and we need a result. We will have to make sure we get our heads back on (after Saturday).

“We’ve played some very good cricket but we’ve also missed some opportunities in games when we’ve been in great positions,

“That’s something we need to learn if we want to stay in the league or come back into Division One.”

Worcestershire (from):

Mitchell ©

Fell

Westbury

Clarke

Milton

Cox (w)

Barnard

Parnell

Twohig

Tongue

Pennington

Morris

Finch