Leicestershire's T20 defence sputters at the first against Nottinghamshire
The 10th season of domestic cricket began with all the pizzazz you would expect on a chilly Tuesday night in Leicester. There was a bouncy castle, a Caterpillar digger, a hot tub filled by pale middle-aged men, and elsewhere on the ground a former detective superintendent from the Metropolitan police to provide visible evidence of the new anti-corruption team that has been assembled by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
The crowd, however, was thin and the Foxes, who have been comfortably the most successful county in the first decade of t20 cricket, slumped to their lowest total, in which they managed only five boundaries, and extras were the joint top-scorer with 13.
In a new gimmick for this year's competition, Peter Dickson, the deliberately over-the-top voiceover man from the X Factor, has been employed by the ECB to record the name of each player, to be announced as they come out to bat. His regular interventions became increasingly incongruous as low-profile county stalwarts such as Josh Cobb, Kadeer Ali, Wayne White and Ned Eckersley were given the big buildup, only to trudge back to the Grace Road pavilion to a ripple of polite applause.
Last August's triumph over Somerset was Leicestershire's third, whereas no other county have been champions more than once – and , their far wealthier local rivals, have yet to lift the trophy. But the Foxes have lost several key men including James Taylor and Harry Gurney to Notts, the Australian all-rounder Andrew McDonald and the veteran wicketkeeper Paul Nixon – although he continued to make an impact in retirement, both as a radio summariser and presumably by filling in the Sky players' questionnaire on behalf of Abdul Razzaq, unless the Pakistani all-rounder really is a fan of the Arctic Monkeys, and likes to take holidays in Nixon's native Cumbria.
After being put in, the Foxes lost two early wickets to Darren Pattinson, and found Steven Mullaney's medium pace impossible to get away on a slow pitch. The Lancastrian ended with four for 19 from his four overs and there were two cheap wickets for Samit Patel, plus a strikingly athletic catch.
Matthew Hoggard, leading with a painkilling injection in a hand injury, was given lbw for a golden duck. He claimed a couple of consolation wickets with the new ball, including England's likely t20 opener Alex Hales steering to slip. But Notts cruised home with seven overs to spare after Taylor hit four boundaries in six balls off White.