Somerset start their penultimate LV= County Championship match of the season against Sussex at Hove this morning with plenty to play for still.
Although Warwickshire, who are 36 points ahead of fifth-placed Somerset, look odds-on favourites to win the title, there is valuable place money at stake.
The winners of Division One receive prize money of £352,493, which looks to be heading to Edgbaston, but the Cidermen are still in contention for second spot, which is worth £162,585, or third (£87,873), while fourth place carries a prize of £26,362. They earned £13,181 for being losing semi-finalists in the Friends Life Twenty20.
Jos Buttler was due to be available for the first two days of the game, before going off to join the England Twenty20 squad ahead of their series against South Africa. However, the batsman, Somerset’s stand-in wicketkeeper, may be on duty for his country earlier than expected.
Buttler was last night called up by England as cover for Jonathan Trott, who is a doubt for tomorrow’s final NatWest Series one-day international against South Africa at Trent Bridge because of an injured right hand.
Buttler has played just one previous one-day international, against Pakistan in Dubai earlier this year. Steve Snell, who played with considerable success in the Champions League last autumn, will take Buttler’s role with the gloves at Hove.
Somerset have also included Pakistani left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman in their squad in place of George Dockrell, who is going to Sri Lanka for a training camp with Ireland ahead of the World Twenty20.
The Pakistan spinner was in action for his country in last night’s one-day international against Australia in Sharjah – and was then heading straight to the airport to catch a flight to Gatwick.
Rehman is expected to be available for the majority of Somerset’s match against Sussex, although Jack Leach has travelled to Hove to provide cover in the event of his arrival being delayed.
Somerset skipper Marcus Trescothick said: “We have been pretty unlucky with the weather for our last few games, including the game against Sussex at Taunton.
“However, it looks to be set fair for the next few days, so hopefully we can get a full game in.
“We have had a bit of tough luck recently and missed quite a bit of time out in the middle, but I think we are in a good part of the country for weather so let’s hope we can get a win.
After this week’s match, Somerset conclude their Championship campaign with a home game against Worcestershire, starting a week today. “These are two big matches that we have left, so it would be good to pick up one, if not two, victories,” the skipper added. “There is still a massive incentive to end as high up in the table as we can.”
Somerset (from): Trescothick, Suppiah, Jones, Hildreth, Snell, Barrow, Trego, Rehman, Thomas, Mahmood, Kirby, Hussain, Leach.