County Championship Division Two team guide: stats, signings and 2019 prospects
The lowdown on the new cricket season
County Championship Division Two
Captain Billy Godleman
Overseas players Logan van Beek (NZ), Kane Richardson (Australia, T20)
In Tom Lace (Middlesex, loan), Mark Watt (Lancashire)
Out Ben Slater (Nottinghamshire), Will Davis (Leicestershire), Gary Wilson, Hardus Viljoen (both released)
2018: CC2 7th ODC 5th in North Group T20 7th in North Group
Top runscorer Wayne Madsen 1,016 Top wicket-taker Tony Palladino 51
Prospects for 2019 The loss of opener Ben Slater to Notts towards the end of last season weakened the top order but Derbyshire still racked up 30 batting points, the third-most in the division. They struggled to translate that consistency into wins, however, and Hardus Viljoen's departure heaps pressure on veteran seamer Tony Palladino.
Captain Cameron Bancroft
Overseas players Cameron Bancroft (Australia), D'Arcy Short (Australia, T20)
In Alex Lees (Yorkshire), Ben Raine (Leicestershire)
Out Paul Collingwood (retired), Barry McCarthy, Ryan Davies (both released)
2018: CC2 8th ODC 9th in North Group T20 Quarter-finals
Top runscorer Cameron Steel 638 Top wicket-taker Chris Rushworth 60
Prospects for 2019 The post-Paul Collingwood era began with the bold appointment of Australia's Cameron Bancroft, who served a nine-month ban for ball-tampering, as captain. Ben Raine's signing from Leicestershire is a shrewd move and Alex Lees, once tipped as a future England opener, will be keen to reignite his career so a solid season in mid-table looks likely.
Captain Chris Cooke
Overseas players Shaun Marsh (Australia), Marnus Labuschagne (Australia)
In Billy Root (Nottinghamshire), Charlie Hemphrey (Queensland)
Out Aneurin Donald (Hampshire)
2018: CC2 10th ODC 9th in South Group T20 6th in South Group
Top runscorer Chris Cooke 606 Top wicket-taker Michael Hogan 45
Prospects for 2019 Bottom last season, the Welsh side must find more consistency with the bat this term. Usman Khawaja (420 runs in four matches) was the only recognised batsman to average more than 30 in 2018 while leading bowler Michael Hogan is set to turn 38 on May 31. Another season of struggle is expected.
Captain Chris Dent
Overseas players Daniel Worrall (Australia), Michael Klinger (Australia, T20)
In Stuart Whittingham (Sussex)
Out Liam Norwell, Craig Miles (both Warwickshire), Kieran Noema-Barrett (released)
2018: CC2 5th ODC 7th in South Group T20 Quarter-finals
Top runscorer Chris Dent 851 Top wicket-taker Craig Miles 56
Prospects for 2019 The departure of bowler Craig Miles, who took 31 wickets in the last six games in 2018, to promoted Warwickshire is a blow and the men from Bristol may struggle to match last year's fifth-placed finish. Young batsmen Miles Hammond and James Bracey scored four of Gloucestershire's seven centuries last season and their development will be crucial to the county's success.
Captain Dane Vilas
Overseas players Joe Burns (Australia), Glenn Maxwell (Australia), James Faulkner (Australia, T20)
In Richard Gleeson (Northamptonshire)
Out Jordan Clark (Surrey), Simon Kerrigan, Karl Brown (released), Arron Lilley (Leicestershire), Mark Watt (Derbyshire)
2018: CC1 7th ODC 6th in North Group T20 Semi-finals
Top runscorer Dane Vilas 792 Top wicket-taker Tom Bailey 64
Prospects for 2019 Some dismal batting displays condemned the Red Rose to relegation from the top flight in 2018 despite the fact that Tom Bailey and Graham Onions shared 121 wickets. With England's James Anderson and Keaton Jennings available for much of the early season, a bold bid for the title looks likely.
Captain Paul Horton
Overseas player Mohammad Abbas (Pakistan)
In Chris Wright (Warwickshire), Will Davis (Derbyshire), Arron Lilley (Lancashire)
Out Ben Raine (Durham), Zak Chappell (Nottinghamshire), Cameron Delport (Essex), Ned Eckersley, Mark Pettini, Tom Wells, Rob Sayer, Richard Jones, Michael Carberry (all released)
2018: CC2 6th ODC 8th in North Group T20 8th in North Group
Top runscorer Colin Ackermann 876 Top wicket-taker Ben Raine 51
Prospects for 2019 For so long the whipping boys of Division Two, Leicestershire are slowly moving in the right direction. The departures of all-rounders Ben Raine and Zak Chappell could halt that upward trajectory in the short term although the return of Pakistan seamer Mohammad Abbas, who has 66 wickets in his first 14 Tests, is a boost. Likely to be nearer the bottom than the top.
Captain Dawid Malan
Overseas players Mujeed Ur Rahman (Afghanistan, T20), AB de Villiers (SA, T20)
Out James Fuller (Hampshire), Tom Lace (Derbyshire, loan), Nick Compton (retired), Ravi Patel, James Franklin (released)
2018: CC2 4th ODC 6th in South Group T20 9th in South Group
Top runscorer Stevie Eskinazi 740 Top wicket-taker James Harris 61
Prospects for 2019 With Dawid Malan and Eoin Morgan available for the start of the season and Toby Roland-Jones returning from injury there is a buzz about Middlesex despite a lack of new signings. However, they flopped as 2-1 antepost favourites last season and could come up short in the promotion race.
Captain Alex Wakely
Overseas players Temba Bavuma (SA), Faheem Ashraf (Pakistan, T20), Jason Holder (WI)
In Blessing Muzarabani (Kolpak)
Out Ben Duckett (Nottinghamshire), Richard Gleeson (Lancashire), Steven Crook (retired)
2018: CC2 9th ODC 7th in North Group T20 9th in North Group
Top runscorer Alex Wakely 600 Top wicket-taker Ben Sanderson 60
Prospects for 2019 Not much went right for Northants in any competition in 2018 and much will depend on classy overseas signings Temba Bavuma and, albeit briefly, Jason Holder. Their batsmen scored only three centuries in 14 games last term and it is difficult to anticipate significant improvement this summer.
Captain Ben Brown
Overseas players Rashid Khan (Afghanistan, T20), Mir Hamza (Pakistan)
Out Stuart Whittingham (Gloucestershire)
2018: CC2 3rd ODC 8th in South Group T20 Runners-up
Top runscorer Ben Brown 912 Top wicket-taker Ollie Robinson 74
Prospects for 2019 The Hove side finished a distant third last season and may struggle to finish above the likes of Lancashire, Middlesex and Worcestershire this term. Ben Brown had to bail out his top order on a regular basis while Jofra Archer, who claimed 42 wickets in eight matches last summer, is away at the IPL and could be called up by England. Promotion may be beyond Brown's boys.
Captain Joe Leach
Overseas players Callum Ferguson (Australia), Martin Guptill (NZ, T20)
In Wayne Parnell (Kolpak), Riki Wessels (Nottinghamshire)
Out Steve Magoffin (retired), Joe Clarke (Nottinghamshire)
2018: CC1 8th ODC Semi-finals T20 Winners
Top runscorer Daryl Mitchell 957 Top wicket-taker Ed Barnard 49
Prospects for 2019 Relegation from the top flight was seen as almost inevitable by bookmakers at the start of last season but the county should take great heart from their limited-overs exploits. Wayne Parnell and Riki Wessels are solid signings while Ed Barnard, Josh Tongue, Dillon Pennington and Pat Brown are an exciting young pace quartet who could fire Worcestershire back to Division One.
Key to 2018 results
CC1 County Championship Division One CC2 County Championship Division Two ODC One-Day Cup T20 T20 Blast
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