The County Championship is an important event in the cricketing calendar. 18 teams take part in the competition, with 10 of them in the first division and eight teams in the second division. The topmost placed team in the first division goes on to win the County. The last two teams in the first division and the top two teams in the second division interchange spots for the next season. Basically, it means that those teams in the second division cannot win the Championship. Yet, a few popular players are part of this division. In this article, we take a look at five players who are playing in the second division in the ongoing County Championship.
1) Ben Stokes – Durham
England recently appointed Ben Stokes as the captain of the Test Team. The all-rounder will be at the helm of a new era for the Three Lions in the five-day format. England will take on New Zealand in June. As a preparation for this, Stokes has joined his team Durham for a few games.
He has played only one game so far but the player has already become the talking point. He scored 161 runs in an innings and this knock included a total of 17 sixes. The English captain broke multiple records with this special knock. England will now hope that Stokes turns up in similar form at the upcoming tournaments.
2) Cheteshwar Pujara – Sussex
India’s Cheteshwar Pujara is one of the players who are playing in the second division in the ongoing County Championship. While top Indian players are playing in the IPL, Pujara is scoring a truckload of runs in the County Championship. However, it is in the second division.
Pujara is already one of the highest run-getters in this division. Having made close to 700 runs, Pujara has scored four centuries so far, including one on debut. For the recent Sri Lanka series, Pujara was dropped from Team India. He also failed to make runs in the Ranji Trophy. With India’s next overseas assignment in England, Pujara making runs in the same conditions could put him back in the reckoning. Hence, the ongoing County Championship is important for his career.
3) Marnus Labuschagne – Glamorgan
ICC’s No.1 Test batter Marnus Labuschagne is also part of the ongoing County Championship but in the second division. He has got one century so far but is doing well for his side, striking at an average of above 50.
Marnus has played most of his cricket so far at home. He did struggle in Pakistan and hence, it will be important for him to prove himself in foreign conditions. Therefore, the ongoing campaign has a lot of context with regard to his career.
4) Shaheen Afridi – Middlesex
Shaheen Afridi is also one of the players who are playing in the second division in the ongoing County Championship. The No.4 ranked Test bowler at the moment, Shaheen is doing well for Middlesex this season.
He has picked up 15 wickets in three games so far and is set for more. One of his impressive shows included a six-wicket haul that he took recently. For Pakistan, Shaheen’s good performance in England will be a big confidence booster.
5) Mohammad Rizwan – Sussex
Rizwan was one of the top signings made by Sussex before the season started. In the last few years, the Pakistan wicket-keeper has grown well in his career. Hence, this assignment was keenly looked forward to.
He has scored only one fifty so far but since the top-order comprising the likes of Pujara have been terrific, Rizwan has not got a lot of chances. Nevertheless, he will be keen to get a big score before the season finishes.