Cricket: Butcher steps in to captain Surrey

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MARK BUTCHER will lead a depleted Surrey side into today's County Championship game with Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

Butcher, who scored 116 and 37 in the series-clinching fifth Test defeat of South Africa last week at Headingley, captains the team in the absence of Adam Hollioake and Alec Stewart, both of whom are on one-day duty with England for the Emirates Triangular tournament. England will contest the final against Sri Lanka at Lord's on Thursday, despite losing to South Africa yesterday.

The explosive opener Alistair Brown is also on international duty, while Graham Thorpe is still missing with the back injury that ruled him out of most of England's Test series against South Africa. But Ian Salisbury returns after missing last week's defeat of Derbyshire, and Jason Ratcliffe and Joey Benjamin are also set to start, with Micky Bell likely to be 12th man.

The Gloucestershire captain, Mark Alleyne, faces a late fitness check before their match with the bottom club, Essex, at Colchester. Alleyne suffered a calf strain during the 138-run win over Kent at Bristol and was unable to bowl in Kent's second innings. But the all-rounder will travel to Essex and may play even if he can only be used as a specialist batsman. The young all-rounder Mike Cawdron has been added to the squad which beat Kent in case Alleyne is ruled out.

Essex welcome back a trio of England Under-19 players. The fast bowler Jamie Grove and the batsmen Stephen Peters and Ian Flanagan return after playing their part in the defeat of Pakistan Under-19s in the first Test at Worcester.

Dominic Cork returns to captain Derbyshire against Somerset at Taunton. Cork was rested for the County Championship win over Worcestershire, where Derbyshire managed to defeat their hosts within three days.

Although his side are already in the NatWest Trophy final on 5 September, the England all-rounder will also be expecting progress in the championship and AXA League.

The former West Indies opener Desmond Haynes has been recruited by Northamptonshire to help coach the club's batsmen. Haynes, who scored more than 7,000 runs in 116 Tests, will visit Wantage Road next week after being contacted by Northamptonshire's chief coach, John Emburey.