Somerset to soar, Hampshire to fall: Chris Tremlett's 2017 season tips

 
Chris Tremlett
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Glamorgan v Surrey - LV County Championship
Somerset's signing of my former Surrey team-mate Steven Davies is shrewd business (Source: Getty)

They've been tagged as bridesmaids after missing out on silverware so often but I believe this will be the season that Somerset end their wait for a maiden County Championship title.

Somerset have found a formula that works at Taunton. They’ve played on some seriously flat wickets over the years and have turned their home ground into a bit of a dust bowl, while they possess some threatening spinners.

The West Country side also have seamers who know how to bowl on greener pitches away from home. My former Surrey team-mate Steven Davies is an exciting addition and will really boost their batting. They’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

Yorkshire, county champions in 2014 and 2015, are a strong, quality unit and will be there or thereabouts. I expect them and Somerset to break clear from the pack towards the end of the campaign.

My old team Surrey look really strong on paper and have made some impressive signings in Durham pair Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick. They have so much depth to their squad.

Defending champions Middlesex are another side with a strong bowling pack and will be in contention again, while Warwickshire have the capacity to surprise.

A quarter of teams will be relegated from the top-flight this season. There have been suggestions that this ratio is too high but I believe it’s fair and adds to the competition in Division Two.

In terms of the two relegation slots, I hate to say it but I can see my other former club Hampshire struggling. They don’t have a great record of keeping their seamers fit and Fidel Edwards looks to have suffered a hamstring injury this week.

A lot will depend on South African Kolpak signing Kyle Abbott. They are likely to be dependent on him to get through a vast number of overs and if he gets crocked it could be curtains.

Lancashire have some exciting players but are still quite a young outfit and I reckon they’ll find it hard work to stay up. So, Lancashire and Hampshire for the drop.

I cannot look beyond Nottinghamshire for an immediate return to Division One having suffered relegation last season. I might have tipped Durham to join them but their 48-point deduction following financial problems will be too much to make up.

Finally, if I was to pick five players to keep an eye on this summer, they would be Northamptonshire’s Ben Duckett, Stoneman at Surrey, his new team-mate Sam Curran, Sam Hain of Warwickshire and Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone.

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