Five county players to make a mark
ESPNcricinfo suggests five county players to keep an eye on
Joe Clarke (Worcestershire, 21)
"He could be the new Joe Root," said Worcestershire's head coach Kevin Sharp about Joe Clarke and considering England's lack of Test runs they could do with another one. Clarke has got age on his side and his 920 runs last season helped Worcestershire win promotion. Could Clarke play under Root's captaincy this summer?
(2017: 14 matches, 920 runs, 43.80 average, HS 142)
Alex Davies (Lancashire, 23)
Another youngster who made waves in 2017 was Alex Davies. Lancashire's keeper-batsman was the county's highest run-scorer in the Championship and became the county's first keeper to score 1000 first class runs in a season. Competition is rife for the England keeping spot, with Ben Foakes the next in line, but Davies can add himself to the shortlist with another strong season.
(2017: 14 matches, 916 runs, 39.82 average, HS 140*)
Jamie Porter (Essex, 24)
If Essex were to credit one player for their remarkable Division 1 triumph in 2017, it would probably be Jamie Porter. Porter and Simon Harmer shared 147 wickets, Porter a shade ahead of the offie with 75 wickets at 16.83 apiece. Porter does not bowl at express speeds - he remains within the 80mph mark - but he can move the ball both ways with surgical accuracy. England's James Anderson will inevitably have to call it a day and, with options limited, Porter will not have abandoned hopes of Test honours.
(2017: 13 matches, 75 wickets, 16.82 average, match BB 12 for 95)
Matthew Fisher (Yorkshire, 20)
Matthew Fisher's career has encountered more injury speedbumps than he would like, but Yorkshire need a strong showing from this lanky pace bowler to offset absences elsewhere. His Yorkshire teammate Tim Bresnan famously predicted: "I think he is going to be an unbelievable bowler" and if he remains injury free he can begin to prove it.
(2017: 2 matches, 8 wickets, 24.37 average, match BB 5 for 89)
Hamidullah Qadri (Derbyshire, 17)
When he made his debut for Derbyshire in June last year, Hamidullah Qadri became the first county cricketer to have been born in the 21st Century. Besides this unique accolade, Qadri also made headlines for bowling Derbyshire to victory in his very first game. The Afghanistan-born off spinner claimed 5 for 60 against Glamorgan in the second innings. More chances are bound to come as the season progresses.
(2017: 3 matches, 10 wickets, 28.80 average, match BB 6 for 76)