New Norfolk captain Chris Brown believes his side are ready for MCCA Knockout Trophy campaign
New Norfolk captain Chris Brown insists his side are ready for action, despite seeing their pre-season schedule wrecked by the weather.
Norfolk travel to Devizes to take on Wiltshire tomorrow, after last weekend's planned games against MCC Young Cricketers and Essex II were both called off. A training session arranged for Sunday was also scuppered by the rain, while Wiltshire had completed two warm-up games the previous weekend.
Brown, who has taken over the captaincy from George Walker, said: 'Had we not got club cricket on Saturday then it might have been a problem, because it is always a bit foreign when you play outside for the first time each season after practising indoors.
'But everyone is going to be playing at a high standard on Saturday in their league games so any cobwebs will be blown away then. Hopefully our batsmen will get some time in the middle on Saturday and the bowlers will get some overs under their belts and we will be firing on all cylinders come Sunday.'
Norfolk will hand debuts to two new recruits, Ben France and Dominic Reed. All-rounder France, 30, has joined after leaving Suffolk and is set to open the batting with James Spelman. Reed, 23, who played for Cambridgeshire last season and was a team-mate of Brown's in the Unicorns A team, adds strength to the seam bowling department alongside Paul Bradshaw, Martin Addison, France and James Spelman.
Brown said: 'Ben and Dominic are really keen to make an impression and they are going to be pivotal players for us this season in both one-day and championship cricket. They are raring to go.'
Left-arm spinner Walker has been overlooked for the opening match, but Brown is keen to reintroduce his predecessor into the side as soon as possible: 'George said he wants to get some form under his belt in club cricket, so we will monitor how he goes,' he said. 'As soon as he feels confident and the statistics back that up, he will come straight back into consideration. I've said it before, George is a potential match winner.'
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The pre-season wipe-out denied Norfolk the chance to cast an eye over Sundeep Patel, a left-handed batsman spotted by Norfolk professional Trevor Ward playing in the Leicestershire league.
Brown said: 'We were going to have a look at him because with Sam Arthurton playing for Essex second XI and Harry Bush for Leicestershire seconds, there might be some fixture clashes with our games. Wardie flagged him up and rates him highly and he impressed at our winter training. He's really keen to play, but obviously it would have been very difficult to select him this weekend.
'He's going to play in the development side games and if he impresses in those and an opportunity comes up, he will be considered.'
After bad weather wiped out all four of Norfolk's Trophy group games last summer, and a poor campaign in 2011 which brought four defeats, Brown is keen to get back on track in the one-day format.
He said: 'It was an area we identified last season, but we didn't get the chance to put it right. We had half a game against Wiltshire in which I thought we batted quite well and our score would have been competitive, but then it was rained off. Hopefully we can address those issues straight away, starting on Sunday.'