County cricket: Who will win the 2020 Bob Willis Trophy?
First-Class counties set for new red-ball tournament
Free county cricket tips, best bets and analysis for the 2020 Bob Willis Trophy.
1pt 7-1 general
1pt each-way 14-1 general
There will be no County Championship this season but the replacement competition the Bob Willis Trophy presents all 18 first-class counties with the opportunity to play red-ball cricket.
The 18 counties have been spread across three regionalised groups of six with the two group winners with the most points progressing to a five-day final in September.
To reduce the chances of injuries, subtle rule changes have come into effect but even in this unfamiliar format, punters should expect the same teams to rise to the top.
Essex became the first side to win the Championship and T20 competitions in the same summer in 2019 and beyond Ravi Bopara departing for Sussex and Tom Westley taking the captaincy, they look as strong as ever.
Three of their five group assignments will take place on home soil, where they have lost only three times since promotion to Division One in 2017 and, although they are outright favourites, 7-1 looks too big to turn down.
Somerset’s success hinges on the availability of Jack Leach and Dom Bess, who could both be called up for England duty, while Surrey may be without Hashim Amla and Morne Morkel as it is unclear whether or not the pair can gain entry into the country due to the coronavirus regulations.
They will nonetheless be missing Rory Burns, Sam and Tom Curran, Jason Roy and Ollie Pope and with a new head coach in Vikram Solanki in charge, they look a team to swerve.
Warwickshire, the county where Bob Willis spent 12 years of his career, could have an outside shot.
Overseas talent Jeetan Patel, 40, will be keen to end his Bears tenure on a high note and a BWT success would also be a fitting end to the career of wicket-keeper Tim Ambrose.
Ian Bell returning from injury could be a big plus and with a new chief executive and sporting director, defying the odds to lift this trophy could be the perfect way to start a new chapter at the Midlands club.
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