Lancashire call on Kartik to maintain pressure

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The Independent Online

The Indian spinner Murali Kartik is set to make his first appearance of the season for the joint table-toppers Lancashire in the County Championship match that starts today against Warwickshire at Blackpool.

The left-arm spinner Gary Keedy remains on the treatment list with his knee problem but Kartik made a big impact on the Championship in 2005 when he claimed 16 wickets in the last two matches.

Lancashire, who are chasing their first outright Championship title since 1934 and are neck-and-neck with Sussex, who beat them in the C&G final at Lord's on Saturday, are hopeful Keedy will be fit by next week but the seamer Sajid Mahmood is on international duty with England.

Warwickshire will be without their captain, Heath Streak, who is recovering from a disc injury. Dougie Brown is also sidelined with a back strain, as is James Anyon. Michael Powell is also out with a hamstring strain.

Elsewhere in the First Division, England's Matthew Hoggard returns to the Yorkshire side as they take on Middlesex.

At the top of the Second Division, Chris Schofield has been included in the Surrey squad for their match against Glamorgan at the Oval. Schofield, 27, last played county cricket in 2004 after being discarded by Lancashire and has been signed by Surrey until the end of the season following Anil Kumble's return to India. The leg-spinner Ian Salisbury is available after recovering from a bruised knee. The seamer James Ormond has strained his right bicep and will miss the match. The all-rounder Rikki Clarke is also away on international duty.

For Glamorgan, the New Zealand seamer James Franklin returns having missed the last four-day game at Taunton with a back injury. David Harrison has also recovered from his thigh strain. Glamorgan have named the seamer Huw Waters and the 16-year-old James Harris in their 12-man squad. Should Harris play, at 16 years and 106 days old, he would become the fourth-youngest player Glamorgan have chosen for a first-class match.

Northamptonshire are likely to include the England spinner Monty Panesar for their clash with Derbyshire at Derby.