Fidel Edwards eyes wickets for Hampshire at Essex – but needs weather to improve

Fidel Edwards. Picture: Neil Marshall
Fidel Edwards. Picture: Neil Marshall
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Fidel Edwards needs better weather to help his quest for Hampshire wickets at Essex after the first day of the County Championship clash was washed out.

Concern over a damp spot on the bowler’s run-up at the River End caused the abandonment of the first day at Chelmsford.

When they can eventually get going Edwards will be looking to play a key role, especially with Dale Steyn ruled out of the clash due to a groin injury.

The South African is expected to return in time for the trip to Worcestershire, but Edwards will be hoping he can add his new ball partner’s victims on top of his own tally.

He said: ‘There isn’t too much to worry about playing the game without Dale.

‘It doesn’t feel like too much pressure but it probably means more wickets for me.

‘We all wish him a speedy recovery and hopefully he will be back very soon.’

Umpires Rob Bailey and Michael Burns inspected the pitch and surrounding area four times during the day – either side of lunch, then at 2.30pm and finally 3.30pm – before announcing that no play was possible.

Incessant rain during a grey morning left puddles on the uncovered areas around the square.

Once the rain stopped at 11.20am the groundstaff started a mopping-up operation that swiftly removed standing water on the wicket covers and the outfield, with the exception of the area of concern about 15 yards from the popping crease.

Though the skies cleared during the afternoon, and the sun made a cameo appearance, it was not enough to allow the Essex and Hampshire players to venture on to the ground, apart from those who wanted to make their own private inspections.

Hampshire captain James Vince, who was named as back-up to Jonny Bairstow for the fourth Test against India, was released by England, and was making his way to Chelmsford from Southampton to take his place in the team.