T20 Blast bite-size preview: Essex Eagles

England

Essex were admittedly substandard during the 2013 Friends Life t20, but recently upstaged World Twenty20 champions Sri Lanka in a rain-affected tour match.

<b>Brief Overview:</b> Essex were admittedly substandard during the 2013 Friends Life t20, but recently upstaged World Twenty20 champions Sri Lanka in a rain-affected tour match. England batsmen Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara probably won't be around for much of the T20 Blast campaign, but the rest will do more than merely make up the numbers.

<b>Venue:</b> The County Ground has been the headquarters of Essex since 1967. The ground is notoriously windy but with great drainage. Chelmsford is a small venue – and therefore suits big-hitting batsmen. The county's success in the shorter versions of the game between 2005 and 2008 led to the attraction of many new fans.

<b>Batsman To Watch:</b> Tipped for a bright future, the talented Ben Foakes boasted maturity beyond his 21 years en route to a match-winning half-century against the Sri Lankans earlier this month.

<b>Bowler To Watch:</b> Spinner Monty Panesar has really done the rounds, urinating on bouncers and stepping in for the retired Graeme Swann at will. He has since returned back to where it all started, and Essex can appreciate as much.

<b>Overseas Signings:</b> Essex have not signed an international recruit, other than New Zealander Jesse Ryder, per se, but have the all-round expertise of Dutch international Ryan ten Doeschate to draw on.

<b>Know Your Mascot:</b> Eddie the Eagle is not to be messed with, sporting a wing span wider than Panesar's most prolific turn and talons sharper than Bopara's fielding skills.

<b>Cricket365's Prediction:</b> Third in South Division.

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