Surrey look to spin of Salisbury to stump Somerset

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The Independent Online

With the top division of the PPP County Championship set to be dominated by spin attacks this season, the champions, Surrey, have half of their potent spin duo available for today's opening game against Somerset at Taunton.

With the top division of the PPP County Championship set to be dominated by spin attacks this season, the champions, Surrey, have half of their potent spin duo available for today's opening game against Somerset at Taunton.

Ian Salisbury is included in the 12 for the First Division fixture - but Surrey will have to wait until June before their overseas player from lastseason, Saqlain Mushtaq, the Pakistan spinner, returns.

Jamie Cox, Somerset's captain, is confident his side can make a big impact in the First Division this year. "A lot is being made of Andy Caddick's unavailability [England duty], but we've got some good players waiting in the wings. We've got a very strong squad," he said.

John Crawley is a doubt for Lancashire's opening match against Kent at Canterbury as he has an injured a thumb. Mark Chilton stands by. Martin McCague, the pace bowler,returns to Kent's squad.

Dominic Cork, the Derbyshire captain, returns for their first game of the season at home to Leicestershire where he will meet his former colleague Phil DeFreitas.

Pace is set to dominate the Second Division and Worcestershire are looking forward to seeing the world's premier paceman Glenn McGrath in action at home to Glamorgan. Matthew Maynard, the Glamorgan captain, remains confident, however: "We have shown some great form in the one-day games and we are hoping to continue this in the Championship," he said.

Nottinghamshire go into their opening match against Northamptonshire with three seam bowlers unavailable through injury, including the new signing, Andrew Harris, who may be out for up to a month with a broken bone in his hand.

Gloucestershire, last year's whipping boys, begin their quest for promotion against Sussex - for whom the opening batsman Toby Peirce returns. John Bracewell, their coach, said: "We've had problems in the Championship since Courtney Walsh left so we're hoping to take a more developmental line this season."

Essex play Cambridge University at Fenner's while Warwickshire take on Oxford Universities at the Parks.

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