Norfolk are understrength for the start of festival period

Norfolk bowler Chris Brown, right, is unavailable for tomorrow's fixture. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norfolk bowler Chris Brown, right, is unavailable for tomorrow's fixture. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Injured Norfolk skipper Chris Brown is urging the players who will face Cumberland to provide him with a selection headache.

The spinner's fight to return from a calf injury in time for the start of the Festival of Cricket has failed. And he joins a host of players in missing the three-day fixture, which starts tomorrow, against Cumberland.

But Brown insists a raft of absences will provide opportunities to those men who have stepped in for the first of three home matches on the bounce.

Norfolk's skipper said: 'In terms of the one-day squad that made the quarter-finals (Unicorns Knock-out) there is a strong nucleus that are injured or unavailable for one reason or another.

'But this gives a chance for the others to show what they can do at this level. It's down to them to put in a really good performance as a group and individually. So they can keep their place for the next game, should their fellow players come back.'

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Brown, Kieran Bunting (back), Callum Taylor (Essex), Sam Arthurton (Lord's groundstaff), Harry Bush (work), Ben France (ankle) and Stephen Gray (school) will all miss the Minor Counties Championship (East) clash. Brown hopes to be back for next week's home fixture against Bedfordshire.

'I saw a couple of physios and they told me I'd be out for three to four, or four to five weeks,' said the skipper.

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'I was optimistic it would be three but at least it's starting to get better. I've been to the gym and I could do some work and now I can stretch and walk pain free. I'm hopeful I can be back in time for next week.'

Norfolk sit bottom of the table following two rain-restricted draws and will have to be at their best to beat a Cumberland side that sit third. And Brown is hopeful his troops can pick up some valuable points over the next couple of weeks.

The captain said: 'We had a fantastic festival last year and played some brilliant cricket. It's an event that is always well supported.

'We had excellent crowds in all of the matches and we hope for the same, and a good few weekends worth of weather, as well as us picking up some positive results.'

Norfolk: J M Spelman, P A Lambert, G T Park*, J G Taylor, A M Watson, L R K Denmark, L W Caswell, R J Findlay, J S Blake+, A A Watson, M P Eccles

Cumberland: N J Longhurst, J R Tolley, J W R Miles, G J Pratt*, L P Weston, A N Atkinson, L K Parkinson+, T Bulcock, S D Lees, C J Hodgson, R J Gleeson *captain +wicket-keeper

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