COUNTY CRICKET: Essex host Northamptonshire today looking to secure home advantage in the quarter-final of the One-Day Cup.
But Paul Grayson’s side will have to do it without three of their stars for the match at Chelmsford.
Skipper Ryan ten Doeschate, big hitter Jesse Ryder and all-rounder Graham Napier have all been ruled out of the game.
Grayson said: “We have a few injuries, so it’s all hands to the pump again.
“David Masters and Reece Topley will come back in as will Keshan Velani.
“So there will be a few changes but it will be nice to finish the group stage with a win and secure home advantage.”
Essex are currently second in the standings of Group A of the One-Day Cup and have already qualified for the quarter-finals heading into the final game.
They are locked on points with leaders Yorkshire and third-placed Gloucestershire.
Yorkshire have a far superior run rate and visit Hampshire, while Gloucestershire go to Derbyshire.
Essex’s run rate should be good enough to ensure second place, should they beat Northants.
Ravi Bopara was expecting to play his last game for the Eagles before linking up with the England squad for their one-day series.
But his surprise exclusion from the national team means he will now be available for the quarter-finals which will take place next week.
“We were fully expecting Ravi to join up with England after today’s game so to still have him is a bonus for us,” said Grayson.
“I know Ravi will be doing everything he can to prove the selectors wrong.”
Today’s match at the County Ground starts at 2pm.