Somerset have handed former Hampshire wicket-keeper Michael Bates a one-month contract following concerns about Alex Barrow’s form.
Bates, who was released at the end of last season, will make his Somerset debut today (Sunday) against Nottinghamshire in the LV= County Championship match at the County Ground.
The 24-year-old has recently been keeping wicket for Somerset Second XI while the county’s other ‘keeper, James Regan, recovered from a broken finger.
Somerset Director of Cricket Matt Maynard said: “Michael Bates comes in on a one-month contract after impressing with the seconds. Alex Barrow’s form has dipped recently and James Regan has only just come back after three weeks’ injury.
“Bates has got a good record behind the stumps and has got a first-class century, so he is a decent player and a good character and we welcome him to the side.”
Barrow who became first-choice keeper this season following Craig Kieswetter’s eye injury and recent retirement, has struggled with the bat this year, scoring just 157 runs in 13 first-class innings with a highest score of 132. Although he has largely kept well, he did make a couple of errors in the most recent Championship match at Chester-le-Street including the costly drop of Paul Collingwood.
Somerset also welcome back Pakistan left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman after a three-week break in a 13-man squad for the game against Nottinghamshire.
Currently Somerset are at the bottom of the Division One table with 56 points and one win from six matches while the visitors are two places above them with 61 and two wins from the same number of matches.
When the two sides met at Trent Bridge in mid-May, it was Somerset who won by 133 runs with a day to spare, a feat that the team will be hoping to repeat.
Looking ahead to the game, Maynard said: “This is a big game for us on the back of two T20 games just prior to that. We have got to be careful how we look at the make-up of our side and the bowling attack in particular.
“However we are very confident because we had a really good win against them at Trent Bridge earlier in the summer and it would be nice to do the same here.”
Talking about the make-up of the squad, Maynard said: “We welcome back Abdur Rehman to the squad who had been de-registered for the time that Chris Gayle was here, so we look forward to him coming back in and hopefully the wicket towards the end of the game will give him some assistance. We know he is a world-class performer and he has had plenty of time to work on his game so we hope he will be able to make an impact later on.”
Rehman said: “I am definitely looking forward to coming back on Sunday. I played the two day game for the Seconds this week and bowled 30 overs to get back my rhythm.
He added: “I will try to bowl in the right areas and hope to win the game for Somerset. I am looking forward to performing for my club again in the championship after three weeks off.”
The full Somerset squad for the Nottinghamshire match is- Marcus Trescothick (captain), Tom Abell, Jim Allenby, Michael Bates (wkt), Tom Cooper, Lewis Gregory, Tim Groenewald, James Hildreth, Johann Myburgh, Jamie Overton, Abdur Rehman, Alfonso Thomas and Pete Trego
Meanwhile, Nottinghamshire have included Michael Lumb, Ben Hilfanhaus and 19-year-old off-spinner Matthew Carter in their 13-man squad to face Somerset.
The return of Lumb following surgery on an arm injury boosts a Nottinghamshire batting line-up missing Alex Hales and James Taylor who are on international duty with England.
Hilfenhaus, the former Australia pace bowler, has replaced Vernon Philander as overseas player for the remainder of the season.
Riki Wessels is set to captain Nottinghamshire in a competitive fixture for the first time. The 29-year-old, who will also keep wicket, was recently announced as next in line for the job with Chris Read injured and James Taylor selected by England for the Royal London One-Day Series against New Zealand.
The temporary skipper will not have the services to call upon of Harry Gurney, who misses out with a hamstring injury. Stuart Broad is also absent from the squad as he is rested by England ahead of the Ashes.
Nottinghamshire 13-man squad to face Somerset (from): Jake Ball, Matthew Carter, Will Gidman, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brett Hutton, Michael Lumb, Steven Mullaney, Samit Patel, Greg Smith, Brendan Taylor, Riki Wessels, Luke Wood and Sam Wood.