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from gus atkinson to josh de caires potential county championship stars
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From Gus Atkinson to Josh de Caires – potential County Championship stars

Cricketers around the country are gearing up for the Vitality County Championship which gets under way on Friday. Here, the PA news agency takes a look at five players who could make their mark this season. Josh Hull (Leicestershire) A 6ft 7in left-arm seamer who has his sights set on being England’s version of Mitchell Starc. Hull may need to add a bit more pace to his weaponry but he can swing the ball and, at 19, has plenty of time on his side. Hull has made only 20 professional appearances but already shown an appetite for the big occasion after defending eight in the last over of the 2023 One-Day Cup final as Leicestershire upset Hampshire. Hull will miss the first couple of red-ball rounds this month because of injury but, fitness permitting, he can enhance a burgeoning reputation that has already attracted admiring glances from England director of men’s cricket Rob Key. Gus Atkinson (Surrey) The only individual included in every England squad this winter, Atkinson was sparingly used in the white-ball matches before Christmas and not at all in the 4-1 Test series defeat in India recently. Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum liked what they saw, though, and indicated the fast bowler will likely be given a go this summer. With England’s emphasis on those who can operate in the high 80mph bracket, Atkinson fits the bill. After withdrawing from the Indian Premier League, Atkinson can elbow his way into England’s plans with some starring roles for Surrey in the early part of the season. Josh de Caires (Middlesex) Started last season with designs on a top-order role before finishing the campaign as an off-spinning all-rounder. The son of former England captain Michael Atherton, De Caires followed up a seven-for against Hampshire with an eight-wicket haul versus Essex. It may be these two performances become outliers as the 21-year-old’s career progresses but England are always on the lookout for promising spinners, even if the cupboard appears to be more stocked than usual. Tawanda Muyeye (Kent) Arrived in the United Kingdom as an asylum seeker after he and his family fled their native Zimbabwe, Muyeye has one of county cricket’s more interesting backstories. He is also one of the most precocious and eye-catching talents on the circuit and a video of him batting on social media earned praise from Kevin Pietersen. With an attacking verve ready-made for Bazball – Muyeye has expressed an interest in playing for England – the 23-year-old may need to become more consistent to get his wish but he bolstered his reputation with a breakout 179 against Northamptonshire last June. Ollie Robinson (Durham) With scrutiny on whether Jonny Bairstow or Ben Foakes will take the gloves for England this summer, there is a very real possibility Robinson will swoop in and leave them both surplus to requirements. Robinson averaged 58.18 at a jaw-dropping strike-rate of 88.66 in Durham’s promotion last season and is more than adept behind the stumps. The 25-year-old made a couple of counter-attacking 80s in England Lions’ unofficial Tests against India A and higher honours may beckon this summer. It is therefore feasible England could have two Ollie Robinsons in their ranks – remarkably they share the same birthday although Durham’s wicketkeeper-batter is five years older than the 20-cap seam bowler.

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