5 players to watch ahead of the 2023 County Championship season

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The LV= County Championship is back this week, with players up and down the country ready to resume for the 2023 campaign.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five up-and-coming players who could make a could make a splash in this year’s first-class competition.

Rehan Ahmed (Leicestershire)

The 18-year-old leg-spinning all-rounder already has a place in the history books, having become England’s youngest debutant in all three formats over a remarkable winter. His immediate Test prospects may be limited with Jack Leach inked in as first choice for the Ashes but Ahmed, who has just three championship appearances on his CV, is now looking forward to a first full season of county cricket. The Foxes are committed to giving their rising star a platform to shine, trusting his promise with the bat and allowing the more experienced Callum Parkinson to guide him in a rare case of county spin twins. Be excited.

Sam Cook (Essex)

Sam Cook (right) has been causing batters problems in all formats.
Sam Cook (right) has been causing batters problems in all formats (Adam Davy/PA)

Jamie Smith (Surrey)

A title winner at the Kia Oval in 2022 and widely touted as a player whose proactive, free-flowing style is perfectly in tune with the current England set-up. Smith will keep wicket when Ben Foakes is on international duty but is already worthy of his place as a pure batting talent. He caused a stir when he lashed a record-breaking 71-ball century for England Lions in February and will be eager to show that is just the start. Only the best break through for the long haul at Surrey and the 22-year-old is well on the way.

Tom Haines (Sussex)

Tom Haines hit hundreds in both innings in his previous Championship appearance.
Tom Haines hit hundreds in both innings in his previous Championship appearance (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Michael Jones (Durham)

Michael Jones hits out against Leicestershire.
Michael Jones hits out for Durham (Zac Goodwin/PA)

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