GLOUCESTERSHIRE have been rocked by another injury ahead of the LV=County Championship match against Leicestershire, which starts at Grace Road today.
Having already lost frontline bowlers Ian Saxelby and James Fuller and back-up seamer Paul Muchall to a variety of ailments, Gloucestershire must also make do without swing bowling spearhead Liam Norwell.
The pick of Gloucestershire’s bowlers during last week’s seven-wicket defeat to Northants in Bristol, Norwell strained a groin muscle and was unable to field on the final day.
His condition is worse than first thought and he will not make the journey to the East Midlands.
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Called into the 12-man squad as cover for Saxelby (shoulder) and Fuller (broken hand) last week, teenage seamer Craig Miles is likely to play against the Foxes at Grace Road.
Slow left-armer Ed Young is added to the squad and director of cricket John Bracewell and captain Michael Klinger will select after inspecting the wicket.
Should they pick spinners Young and Jack Taylor and leave Miles out, batsmen Benny Howell, Alex Gidman and Hamish Marshall could all be called upon to support the new-ball pair of David Payne and Will Gidman.
Struck on the hand and unable to field on the final day against Northants, Howell has been passed fit to play after an x-ray allayed fears that he had broken a bone in his hand.
Still searching for their first win of the season, Gloucestershire run with a small squad and can ill-afford so many players to be sidelined by injury.
Skipper Klinger said: “Luck has certainly been against us as far as injuries are concerned and to find ourselves quite a few players down already is frustrating.
“Liam hurt his groin bowling in the first innings against Northants. We don’t think it is too bad, but it is something we need to monitor. It’s never ideal to have key players injured, but it means a chance for other members of our squad to show what they can do.”
Leicestershire go into the game having been beaten by Leeds/Bradford MCCU in their last match, but Klinger believes it would be wrong to read too much into that result.
He said: “They didn’t have their strongest team out and we certainly won’t be thinking it will be an easy game because they lost to a university side.
“We will go there with the aim of trying to control the game from the start, which will always be the case. They have some good players, so it is certain to be a tough contest.”
Gloucestershire (from): Klinger, Dent, Housego, A.Gidman, Marshall, Howell, W.Gidman, Herring, Young, Taylor, Payne, Miles.