Gurney fitness is major worry for Leicestershire

 

Leicestershire face an anxious wait to discover whether left-arm seamer Harry Gurney will be fit to face Lancashire in the Friends Life t20 semi-final at finals day at Edgbaston on Saturday August 27.

Gurney broke down with a side strain bowling in the heavy Clydesdale Bank 40 defeat by Surrey at Grace Road on August 21.

He was no-balled for bowling a high full toss during Surrey’s innings and promptly left the field with Wayne White taking over to complete the over.

Gurney misses the County Championship match against Surrey at Grace Road this week and he will be assessed during the week. But Gurney is already rated doubtful for Leicestershire’s biggest match in five years and his absence would be a major blow to their hopes of ending a bleak season with a trophy.

Despite struggling with hamstring injuries this season, which have restricted him to just one County Championship appearance, Gurney has been an influential figure in their Twenty20 Cup campaign and is their leading wicket-taker in the competition.

In the longer term Gurney’s future with Leicestershire remains in doubt. He has been offered a new two-year deal at Grace Road but it is understood that the two parties are some way apart on the financial details. Kent, who made a formal 28-day approach for Gurney earlier in the season, are also in talks with him.

Leicestershire are optimistic that Australia all-rounder Andrew McDonald will have recovered from a knee injury in time to play in T20 finals day and they will also have a new England international in their line-up against Lancashire following James Taylor’s inclusion in England’s squad for the one-day international against Ireland in Dublin on August 25.

“It’s come as a little bit of a surprise because I had tried to blank out all thoughts about England,” Taylor said. “It’s easy to get distracted if you think too much about England and I have had quite a lot to think about recently with captaining England Lions.”

Eight of the players Taylor captained in the Lions’ recent four-day and one-day matches against Sri Lanka A have also been included in an inexperienced and experimental England squad.

“I have played with all the guys in the squad before but the fact that so many of us played for the Lions recently means it will be a little less daunting making my debut than it might have been,” Taylor said.

“Even if I had not played with the guys before I don’t think I would have been too intimidated. I back myself at whatever format I get picked in. It’s a chance for me to show the selectors that I can do it at this level and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Taylor’s England commitments will rule him out of the Surrey Championship match for which Leicestershire have named a squad that includes two potential debutants in former MCC Young Cricketers batsman Ned Eckersley and Loughborough University all-rounder Rob Taylor.

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