In partnership with the Cricketers’ Who’s Who, here’s Wisden’s profile of champions Essex for 2018.
HOME GROUND: The Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford
ONE-DAY NAME: Essex Eagles
CAPTAIN: Ryan ten Doeschate
2017 RESULTS: CC1: Winners; RL50: Semi-finalists; T20: 8/9 South Group
HONOURS: Championship: (7) 1979, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1991, 1992, 2017; Gillette/NatWest/ C&G/FP Trophy: (3) 1985, 1997, 2008; Benson & Hedges Cup: (2) 1979, 1998; Pro40/ National League/CB40/YB40/RL50: (2) 2005, 2006; Sunday League: (3) 1981, 1984, 1985
Ten victories, no defeats, a winning margin of 72 points, county champions: even the Chelmsford faithful will have found it hard to grumble about that. But you can already hear the cry: “Don’t do a Middlesex!” That is the challenge for new coach Anthony McGrath. Jamie Porter and Simon Harmer took 147 of the 247 wickets but cannot be expected to repeat those miracles. Will Harmer’s off-spin be as effective now that county batsmen have had a good look at him?
In truth Essex are blessed with talent right through the team, with a fearsome top order of Cook, Browne, Lawrence, Westley, Bopara and ten Doeschate. They look primed for an assault on the One-Day Cup, winning seven out of nine last season and beaten only by Nottinghamshire’s extraordinary chase of 371 in the semi-final.
All-rounder Matt Coles is a potential match-winning addition, while Peter Siddle will hand the overseas baton to the returning Neil Wagner in May. Aussie leg-spinner Adam Zampa plays has been recruited for the T20 Blast.
IN: Matt Coles (Ken), Peter Siddle (Aus), Neil Wagner (NZ), Adam Zampa (Aus, T20)
OUT: Kishen Velani (REL)
Head coach: Anthony McGrath
As assistant coach for the past two seasons, McGrath has helped deliver back-to-back titles in Division Two and Division One and now takes the reins after Chris Silverwood’s appointment as England bowling coach. McGrath previously spent a year on Yorkshire’s coaching staff following an 18-year playing career at Headingley in which he scored more than 23,000 runs and took 240 wickets in all formats. He played four Tests and 14 ODIs for England. Former Hampshire all-rounder Dimitri Mascarenhas will be his assistant.