The Times today previews Division One of this year’s County Championship competition, it is well worth a read. The world’s greatest county cricket club – Lancashire – are the bookies’ favourites (at 6-4) to win the championship this year, the overseas pairing of Murali and Brad Hodge cited as a key factor. Hampshire and Sussex (both 7-2) are join second favourites. Lancashire’s first choice bowling attack (Murali excepting) includes Andrew Flintoff, James Anderson and Sajid Mahmood – who will probably spend most of the summer with England, however it is anticipated that Dominic Cork, Glen Chapple and Tom Smith will be more than able backup. The batting looks stronger with the addition of Brad Hodge. Interestingly, Chris Schofield has been signed by Surrey.

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