Middlesex welcome their Australian captain Peter Handscomb into the XI for the first time against Surrey at Lord’s on Thursday – and have dropped Stevie Eskinazi, who had been deputising as skipper, to accommodate him.
Middlesex have lost both their first two matches of the season, at home to Somerset and away to high-flying Hampshire, so the arrival of Handscomb is welcome. The 16-Test Australian batsman initially joined the county ahead of the 2020 season, but saw his arrival delayed by Covid-19.
It is a surprise to see Eskinazi make way having captained the side over the last couple of summers, but he has been part of a struggling batting group. Eskinazi averages 20 this year, so opener Max Holden – who has 17 runs in four innings – might reflect that he is lucky to survive.
Elsewhere Luke Hollman, the leg-spinning all-rounder, looks set to debut in place of Nathan Sowter, who is not in the squad, while Tim Murtagh should return from injury.
The Middlesex all-rounder James Harris, the PCA Chair, has joined Glamorgan – his first county – on loan in search of first-team opportunities.
Surrey, who are also winless, welcome back Reece Topley and Gus Atkinson from rest and, for the first time this season, Rikki Clarke from injury.
There is no place again for Liam Plunkett, while Jamie Overton and Matt Dunn are rested.