Cricket: Pitch thought too slow for Lawrence

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The Independent Online
Gloucestershire, the Championship leaders, have left David Lawrence out of the team to face an unchanged Essex today as the Gloucester wicket, built over an old rubbish tip, will be too slow for the 33-year-old fast bowler.

Lawrence has made a fine return to action after five seasons out with a horrific knee injury. His place goes to former amateur boxer Camran Sheeraz.

The champions, Leicestershire, could welcome back veteran medium-pacer Gordon Parsons in place of spinner Matthew Brimson for the visit of Surrey, who recall Alistair Brown.

Worcestershire may find a place for David Leatherdale at Chester-le-Street after his career-best 5 for 10 against Australia. Durham have added seamers Steve Lugsden, 20, and Martin Saggers to their squad, with Simon Brown, Melvyn Betts and John Wood all injured.

Warwickshire, without England pair Nick Knight and Ashley Giles against Middlesex at Edgbaston, give a debut to the all-rounder Mo Sheikh.

Lancashire have doubts over Wasim Akram and captain Mike Watkinson (both shoulder) against Northamptonshire. Tim Walton comes in for the visitors as opening bowler Mohammad Akram has a calf problem. Their 12th man is Mark Steele, son of former England batsman, David.

Fast bowler Vasbert Drakes (side strain) and opener Toby Peirce (hand) are doubts for Sussex against Kent at Horsham, but Keith Greenfield is fit after dislocating a finger and opens the innings. Kent's leg-spinner Paul Strang will play despite a broken finger, while Trevor Ward returns after injury and fast bowler Ben Phillips replaces Dean Headley.

Nottinghamshire are without Mohammad Zahid against Derbyshire at Trent Bridge. Zahid, yet to make his debut owing to a back injury, broke down again yesterday. Derbyshire's Kim Barnett, who injured his knee last week, is likely to play.

Hampshire's captain, John Stephenson, and fast bowler Cardigan Connor return at Cardiff against Glamorgan, who hope Hugh Morris's ankle improves. The 22-year-old Gary Butcher replaces Robert Croft.

Martyn Moxon and Peter Hartley return for Yorkshire at Taunton against Somerset, whose wicketkeeper Rob Turner has an eye injury. Mike Burns steps in.