County Championship 2021: team-by-team guide to the new season

CC Captain Steven Mullaney Head coach Peter Moores

Without a win in the championship since June 2018, Nottinghamshire will be desperate to prove that they are equal to the sum of their parts. The strong batting lineup made some progress last year but still has a propensity to collapse like a whoopee cushion under pressure. Hopes are high for Haseeb Hameed, who made such a good impression in his first season that he has been appointed vice-captain and Ben Duckett, 26, who made the England one-day bubble last summer. South African fast bowler Dane Patterson has signed for the summer. Prediction: Fourth in group

Captain Will Rhodes First-team coach Mark Robinson

Director of cricket Paul Farbrace brought in former England women’s supremo Mark Robinson as his new head coach, after Jim Troughton was sacked in the autumn following a summer of disappointing results – the team had gone without a win in the BWT. It wasn’t the only change in personnel at Edgbaston, as the club also bid farewell to faithful servants Ian Bell, Jeetan Patel and Tim Ambrose. Hopes are high that Will Rhodes, in only his second season as captain, can tickle his young team into bloom, with the help of South African batsman Pieter Malan, promising young bowler Henry Brookes and former Sussex spinner Danny Briggs. Prediction Third in group.

Captain Joe Leach Head coach Alex Gidman

Worcestershire have yo-yoed over the last three years – they finished just one away from the booby prize in 2019 but by August last year were on the brink of qualifying for the BWT in their game against Somerset – a game so exciting that John Cleese phoned New Road to ask for help with the live stream. They have a great crop of young bowlers including Josh Tongue, Dillon Pennington, Charlie Morris and Ed Barnard; and Jake Libby and Daryl Mitchell shore up the batting. Prediction Second in group.

CC Captain Chris Dent Interim head coach Ian Harvey

After the ECB poached Richard Dawson as their elite pathway coach, Gloucestershire have given Ian Harvey a chance to prove himself. The club won promotion to Division One at the end of 2019, but hiccupped in 2020, winning just one BWT match. Australian swing bowler Dan Worrall and West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite bring stardust to Bristol, while the talented James Bracey leads the way behind the stumps, Ryan Higgins provides reliability in spades and excitement builds around Tom Lace. Prediction: Fourth in group

Captain James Vince Head coach Adi Birrell

A new-ball partnership of Kyle Abbott and Mohammad Abbas provides Hampshire with impressive firepower on early season greentops, throw in fit-again Liam Dawson, Keith Barker and Hampshire’s batsmen won’t need too many daddy hundreds to their name. Their batting is their weaker suit, with Sam Northeast in need of a good year and Nye Donald hoping to build back better after injury ruled him out last year. Keep an eye out for leggie Mason Crane, who had a promising 2020 season. Prediction: Third in group

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