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Alex Hales' return can keep Trent Bridge gates clicking

Alex Hales punches down the ground BCCI

Nottinghamshire hope that Alex Hales' first appearance of the season will attract another bumper crowd to Trent Bridge for Friday's Royal London One-Day Cup group match against Worcestershire.

Hales is contracted to Nottinghamshire for white-ball cricket only but he missed their first five 50-over matches because of IPL commitments with Sunrisers Hyderabad. Hales made his last appearance for Sunrisers on May 17 but their progress to Sunday's final delayed his return to Trent Bridge.

In Hales' absence Nottinghamshire have made a stuttering start to their defence of the cup and have lost both their homes games so far, against Northamptonshire at Welbeck and Warwickshire at Trent Bridge on Sunday in front of crowd of 14,357.

Nottinghamshire's initiative in reducing ticket prices to just 1 for their Family Day was rewarded with a modern-day ground record for a county match.

"We did a similar thing last year when we got a crowd of 10,000 and that encouraged us to push hard for a similar fixture," Nottinghamshire director of cricket Mick Newell said. "We did a lot of promotion locally in the media and the tickets for a 1 obviously makes it attractive. But to get almost 15,000 in was a fantastic effort and it created a great atmosphere."

There should have been scope for more counties to replicate Nottinghamshire's initiative but an imbalanced fixture list over the late May Bank Holiday, which used to be a busy weekend for county cricket, meant other opportunities to attract a new and younger audience was missed.

There were eight Royal London matches scheduled for Friday and again on Sunday but, inexplicably, none at all anywhere in the country on Saturday or Monday.

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Dom Bess became the 11th former Minor Counties player in 10 years to play Test cricket when he made his debut at Lord's.

Bess played all his youth cricket for Devon and even played for his native county in two Minor Counties Trophy matches at the start of last season.

He follows Graeme Swann (Bedfordshire) James Taylor (Shropshire), Chris Woakes (Herefordshire), Mark Wood (Northumberland), Alex Hales (Buckinghamshire), James Vince (Wiltshire), Liam Dawson (Wiltshire), Tom Westley (Cambridgeshire), Craig Overton (Devon) and Jack Leach (Dorset), all of whom gained valuable experience of three-day senior cricket in the Minor Counties system.

While Bess was involved in the last rites at Lord's on Sunday morning, two of his cousins, Josh and Zac Bess, were helping Devon to two victories in the day over Wiltshire in the new Minor Counties T20 competition in Salisbury.

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Haseeb Hameed would barely have merited a mention when the England selectors considered a replacement for Mark Stoneman for the second Test against Pakistan at Headingley.

The Lancashire batsman is one of Alastair Cook's 12 opening partners since Andrew Straus retired but, instead of pushing for a Test recall, Hameed finds himself plying his trade in the less glamorous surroundings of the Liverpool and District Competition and county second team cricket.

Hameed's Test career began promisingly with two half-centuries, including 82 in the second innings of his debut, in six innings against India in November 2016. But he broke a finger in his last Test in Mohali and suffered a similar injury last September batting against Middlesex at Lord's.

Hameed has struggled for runs since he regained fitness but there are encouraging signs that he is regaining form and confidence.

Last week Hameed made three centuries in five days: 121 for Formby against Rainhill, 107 in the Second XI Trophy victory over Worcestershire at Barnt Green and 140 in the second innings of the Second XI Championship match at the same venue.

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Warwickshire's Royal London Cup match against Northamptonshire will go ahead as planned at Edgbaston on Wednesday, despite almost five inches of rain falling on the ground over the Bank Holiday weekend.

The ground was flooded on Sunday evening when 58mm of rain - more than the monthly average total for May - fell in an hour during violent thunderstorms.

The flooding was so severe that roads around the ground became canals and a long stretch of the Pershore Road became impassable after it was submerged to a depth of 5ft when the River Rea broke its banks.

But Warwickshire's sand-based outfield absorbed the rainfall and groundstaff were able to give the grass a post-deluge trim on Monday.

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Leicestershire have given former England opening batsman Michael Carberry time off to consider his future after they relieved him of the captaincy less than two months into the season.

Carberry, who joined Leicestershire on a two-year contract during the winter after an initial loan spell at the end of last season, lost the captaincy after a review of early season performances by head coach Paul Nixon.

"We have given Michael time away from the game for him to think over the situation," Leicestershire chief executive Wasim Khan said.

Meanwhile Shiv Thakor, the former Leicestershire and Derbyshire batsman, has been training at Grace Road. Thakor is currently suspended from playing all cricket under the auspices of the ECB until the end of June for bringing the game into disrepute as a result of his conviction for indecent exposure last November.

Thakor, who was sacked by Derbyshire, has returned to the family home in Leicester and has been given permission by Leicestershire to use their facilities for occasional training sessions on days when they are not required by their players.

"Shiv asked if he could train here on his own to keep in shape during his suspension and he's done that a couple of times," Khan said.