Sam Whitney returns to captain Shropshire against Wales at Abergavenny

Sam Whitney, Shropshire’s NCCA Championship captain, returns from a shoulder injury to lead the county in a three-day match for the first time against Wales.

The Bridgnorth leg spinner missed Shropshire’s opening Western Division 2 game of the campaign, the seven-wicket defeat against Herefordshire at Shifnal earlier this week.

But Whitney, who was appointed the county’s three-day captain earlier this year, is now ready to return as Shropshire prepare to face Wales in a match which starts at Abergavenny on Sunday (11am).

Director of Cricket John Abrahams said: “Sam has been seeing a physio, he’s been doing exercises and he’s been getting back into his bowling with Bridgnorth.

“He also had a fitness test on Tuesday, which he came through, where both his bowling and fielding were assessed.”

Whitney’s return is one of three changes from the Shropshire side selected for the Herefordshire match.

Young Shrewsbury all-rounder Harry Cooke, who is part of Worcestershire’s Academy and top scored for Shropshire’s Academy side when he made his debut against Staffordshire’s Development XI earlier this month, has been called up to make his first-team debut for the county.

There will also be a first Championship appearance for Sentinel all-rounder James Shaw, who featured in the Shropshire side for the NCCA Trophy match at Cumbria earlier this month.

All-rounder David Laird is ruled out owing to injury, promising left-arm spinner Lewis Evans, having been given his first taste of the NCCA Championship when he played against Herefordshire, makes way for returning skipper Whitney, while wicketkeeper Matt Swift is unavailable, so Ben Lees will keep wicket.

Abrahams added: “Harry Cooke has attended a couple of the practice sessions we’ve had and he also performed well for Shropshire’s Academy side.

“He is a like for like replacement for David Laird in that he’s a very capable batter and also bowls seam. Worcestershire have very kindly made Harry available for us.

“James Shaw was included in the squad for the last match against Herefordshire but didn’t make the final XI.

“He’s been bowling consistently for his club side and, following the last match, we recognise we need to restrict the run rate of the opposition batsmen.”

Young Wellington batsman Matt Lamb, who led the way with a fine 90 when Shropshire’s Academy side beat Herefordshire’s Development XI last week, will act as 12th man at Abergavenny.

“Matt’s a good young cricketer with potential,” said Abrahams. “He was really enthusiastic and did an excellent job when he shared 12th man duties in the last game.

“He wants to be a part of it and this is another opportunity to add to his cricket education.”

Wales, who have drawn both of their Championship matches this season, are through to the semi-finals of the NCCA One Day Trophy and also recently beat Glamorgan in a showcase fixture at Sophia Gardens.

Abrahams said: “The standard and quality of National Counties cricket is high. We have to be at our best to compete with all the teams we play against and that will be no different against Wales.”

Shropshire: Ryan Lockley (Oswestry), Ben Lees (Bridgnorth), Xavier Clarke (Shifnal), Simon Gregory (Bridgnorth), Graham Wagg (Biddestone), Matty Simmonds (Bridgnorth), James Shaw (Sentinel), Sam Ellis (Formby), Harry Cooke (Shrewsbury), Sam Whitney (Bridgnorth, captain), Charlie Walker (Bridgnorth). 12th man: Matt Lamb (Wellington).

Pictured: Sam Whitney will captain Shropshire in the NCCA Championship for the first time since his appointment as the county’s three-day skipper.