Mark Fell wants experienced Lincolnshire duo to lead the way
Mark Fell has urged Lincolnshire to make a clear statement of intent when they travel to Cumberland this weekend.
The Imp County have made an encouraging start to the new Minor Counties Eastern Division campaign after recording a draw against Northumberland in their opening three-day clash, writes Mark Williams.
Experienced batting duo Dan Birch (49 and 41) and Mat Dowman (118 and 34 not out) hit the ground running against Northumberland and Lincolnshire's director of cricket reckons if the pair fire on all cylinders again then his side will go close to claiming their first win of the season.
"Dan Birch and Mat Dowman have certainly started to bat how we know they can," said Fell. "When those two are going well then it is a nice feeling for everyone else because they are two players the younger guys look up to.
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"Dowman's century in the last game was tremendous and he needs to continue that if he can.
"This is a big game for us because we want to set an early marker. All we have to do is concentrate on ourselves.
"We have two or three new young lads in this year and if they can get some early-season confidence then that is ideal.
"As a group we need to stick to our positive way of playing and positive thinking."
With regular skipper Paul Cook still unavailable for selection, Birch will continue in the role of leading the side.
Akhil Patel, who has impressed with the blade so far after arriving from Nottinghamshire during the winter, is also set to keep his spot at number three.
The 22-year-old left handed batsman is the younger brother of England international Samit Patel and is tipped to go all the way in the game.
"We are very excited with the signing of Akhil," said Fell.
"He has made a bright start and there is a lot to his game.
"He scored a very good 91 in the game against Northumberland and I am confident we will see a lot more from him."
Lincolnshire squad: Liam Andrews, Karanjit Bansal, Dan Birch (c), Jonathan Cheer, Jonathan Darke, Mat Dowman, Oliver Burford, Akhil Patel, Jim Morgan, Adam Shepherd, Harry Clewett, Brett Houston.