Somerset forced to bring curtain down without spinner Chawla
It was a tale of two international call-ups for Somerset – one arrived and one did not, but both left the county feeling frustrated.
The call-up that did arrive has deprived Somerset of their mercurial spinner, Piyush Chawla, for today’s crucial County Championship finale against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
The one that did not saw Nick Compton omitted from England’s squad to tour Australia, and both decisions have left director of cricket Dave Nosworthy scratching his head.
“To lose PC for the final game of the season is very disappointing,” he said, after the all-rounder was picked by India for the Challengers Trophy, which begins on Thursday.
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“The news could not have come at a worse time for us – but the BCCI have the right to recall him whenever they want to, so there is nothing we can do.
“That is the danger with any overseas player, as we found out with Alviro Petersen earlier this season. It’s unfortunate, and it leaves us a little bit in the lurch, because PC has been brilliant for us. He is a good player and a good man to have around.”
Without Chawla, who has taken 17 Championship wickets at 26.64, and scored a century against Middlesex at Lord’s, Somerset have named one spinner – George Dockrell – in their squad.
Of all the players on the field at Trent Bridge over the next four days, few will feel they have as much to prove as Compton, who was harshly omitted from England’s Ashes squad.
The 30-year-old hit back-to-back centuries for England in New Zealand earlier this year – but has not featured in a Test match since the Kiwis visited England in May. Hampshire’s Michael Carberry has been preferred to the Somerset opener.
“In one way, we can look at a positive in this situation, and it is that for Nick to come back again and prove his worth will be a real show of character,” said Nosworthy.
Somerset go into the final round of Championship matches 16 points clear of Derbyshire, who occupy the second spot in the relegation zone. Surrey have already been relegated, while Derbyshire conclude their season at home to Warwickshire.
“There is still a lot of work to do if we are to stay up – and if we start focusing on other results, it can be a dangerous game,” said Nosworthy.
Jos Buttler and Jamie Overton are both back in the squad, following their involvement in England’s one-day international series against Australia. For Buttler, the match at Trent Bridge is almost certain to represent his final match for his home county, as he prepares to leave the club he joined as a nine-year-old in order to pursue regular wicketkeeping duties.
“I don’t know if that is the case,” said Nosworthy. “But there is little more I can add to what I have said before, which is that we have made Jos a contract offer and are waiting to hear his decision.”
Despite Somerset’s offer, Buttler looks set to join Lancashire who are releasing wicketkeeper Gareth Cross
Somerset @(from): Trescothick (capt), Barrow, Buttler, Compton, Dockrell, Gregory, Hildreth, Jones, Kieswetter, Meschede, J Overton, Thomas, Trego.