COUNTY ANAL­Y­SIS

Gra­ham Hard­cas­tle re­veals the huge ef­fect Mo­ham­mad Amir is hav­ing on ti­tle chasers Es­sex

The Cricket Paper - - FRONT PAGE -

Es­sex ex­tend their Cham­pi­onship lead Maiden win for War­wick­shire Notts tighten grip

Chris Sil­ver­wood hailed the im­pact of Pak­istan quick Mo­ham­mad Amir on the cock-a-hoop Es­sex dress­ing room af­ter his 10-wicket star­ring role in their two-day win over York­shire at Scar­bor­ough.

Left-armer Amir ripped through York­shire in both in­nings with a mas­ter­class in tak­ing ad­van­tage of favourable con­di­tions, helped out by new ball part­ner Jamie Porter.

The 25-year-old claimed five wick­ets in each in­nings to fin­ish with ca­reer-best match fig­ures of 10-72 from 28.2 overs, while Porter added seven.

This was only Amir’s sec­ond red ball ap­pear­ance as over­seas for an Es­sex side who are ram­pag­ing to­wards a first ti­tle since 1992.

“He’s shown what a class act he is in this game, and he has done it in white ball cricket as well for us,” said coach Sil­ver­wood,York­shire born and bred like his as­sis­tant An­thony McGrath.

“To have him com­ing in fresh for the sec­ond half of the sea­son is fan­tas­tic. He’s fit­ted in bril­liantly, and he’s a great lad. He’s great around the dress­ing room.”

Es­sex have now won six of their nine Cham­pi­onship matches and hold a 41-point lead over Lancashire and Hamp­shire in joint sec­ond.

Lancashire have five to play and Hamp­shire only four. They both play Es­sex at home next month.

The Chelms­ford side find them­selves in a po­si­tion which the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple thought was not pos­si­ble back in April.

“What’s hap­pen­ing is credit to these guys,” said Sil­ver­wood. “There’s a lot of hard work still with some tough games com­ing up. But the lads keep find­ing a way.”

For York­shire, they are fac­ing a fi­nal month rel­e­ga­tion fight af­ter three de­feats in their last four. They have four games re­main­ing, and must im­prove their bat­ting.

Coach Andrew Gale added: “There are play­ers who can make big runs, it’s just they’re all out of form at the same time. That can only be down to pres­sure and ex­pec­ta­tion they put on them­selves or from the out­side. It’s up to them to be hon­est with them­selves and deal with it.”

PIC­TURE: Getty Images

On top of his game: Mark Stone­man is av­er­ag­ing well over 50 in first-class cricket this sum­mer

PIC­TURE: Getty Images

Sheer de­light: Mo­ham­mad Amir cel­e­brates one of his ten dis­missals in the match

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