Yorkshire will kick-start the 2017 edition of Specsavers County Championship as the bookmakers' favourite as they look to usurp defending champions Middlesex for the title.
Back Yorkshire to win the County Championship Division 1 title 2017-18 at 2/1 with bet365
This county championship is the domestic first-class competition that helps the ECB in promoting the status of first-class cricket in an era where T20 has simply catapulted itself in terms of popularity and preference. The tournament also gives an opportunity to overseas players to get acquainted with the playing conditions in England and Wales. The tournament is basically divided into two divisions. The 2016 season witnessed a lot of changes in playing regulations. The tournament will have only eight teams in total in 2017 as opposed to the nine teams that played in 2016. One county was promoted from Division Two to Division One.
The 2016 season belonged to Middlesex who won six out of their sixteen matches and held onto a draw in the remaining ten. Somerset equaled Middlesex when it came to the number of victories but lost one match in what would have given Middlesex some tight knots in the stomach. Yorkshire followed in at third position with five wins, three losses and eight draws. The fourth place in the points table went to Durham with the same stats as that of Yorkshire but with some differences in the points tally.
Keaton Jennings from Durham had the most amazing season when it came to gathering runs as he accumulated over 1300 runs in 14 matches at an average of over 60. This performance was responsible for him making his test debut in the recently concluded test series against India. Apart from Jennings, Haseeb Hameed, Alviro Petersen, Alex Lees and Nick Gubbins also scored over 1100 runs in Division One.
In the bowling department, Jeetan Patel had the best outing as he grabbed 64 wickets from 15 matches with four five-wicket hauls and one ten-wicket haul. Keith Barker was second in the column of leading wicket takers with 54 wickets from 15 matches. Jack Leach and Jack Brooks both took 52 wickets from 13 and 12 matches respectively.
A great county level performance has to be the best way for youngsters to get a chance to play in the national squad and the examples of Jennings and Hameed justify the same. With changed playing regulations and a penalty for even a badly made pitch, the 2017 season of the county championship will definitely provide more competitive environment to all the players.
County Championship Division 1 Outright Title betting odds (bet365):