Jamie Porter and Mohammad Abbas aren’t moving on

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2 minute read

And why should they?

The general vibe of the County Championship of late (and honestly quite a lot of the time, not just now) is that something needs to change.

There need to be fewer teams, or at least fewer matches; they need to use a different ball; they need to play at different times of the season; and everyone needs to play whatever the hell Bazball is supposed to be this week.

But the County Championship has this kind of colossal gravity to it where no matter what you try and do, it doesn’t budge far.

It’s a bit like stretching pizza dough. You’re gently trying to tease it into the right shape without putting any holes in it, but each time you lay it out there’s a sort of latent elasticity where it starts retracting again.

So it was that the first week of the 2023 County Championship was shaped by Essex’s Jamie Porter and Hampshire’s Mohammad Abbas, both of whom took nine wickets in victories.

Porter was the top wicket taker when Essex won the Championship in 2017 and also took plenty when they won again in 2019. His team mate Simon Harmer took the most that year and he’s still around too.

Abbas meanwhile is a recurring character in our early season county coverage. We’ve just spotted that we also wrote about him exactly a year ago. Abbas now has 100 first class wickets for Hampshire at an average of just 16.5. This year he will again be complemented by Kyle Abbott and Keith Barker.

The years roll on but the song remains the same.

Or at least broadly the same because obviously things do change. Porter and Abbas are the archetypal Championship seamers, perfectly suited to UK pitches and the Dukes ball, but the Kookaburra is flying in for a couple of rounds of matches later in the year.

The two men could be forgiven for resenting this – having their skills blunted with a pudding of a ball that gives bowlers next to nothing to work with after the first few overs – but Porter in particular has far more to gain than lose. This will be a rare opportunity to demonstrate that his ability could translate to other conditions. People can’t say that you’d never take wickets with a Kookaburra when you’re doing precisely that.

Just to give a full explanation of the early Division One table, we should probably mention that Kent were the other winners. Perhaps we’re being unfair but that result doesn’t immediately feel as significant with regards to the outcome of this year’s Championship.

This is roughly what we’ll be covering this year. Stick with us by signing up for our email.


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  1. For my money tha’s the best that Porter has bowled since the pandemic. Not a ball was wasted on that Friday afternoon opening spell.

  2. Porter has his cap on backwards. Immediate 20-point deduction and three ECB demerit points on his record. Naughty boy.

    1. Indeed, Sam, those 20 points should be taken from Essex and handed to Middlesex.

      How could anyone expect gentlemen of Middlesex to bat properly in such unseemly circumstances?

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