Metro Bank One Day Cup 2023: Pundits’ Predictions


The 2023 Metro Bank One Day Cup is now just around the proverbial corner, with tomorrow’s trip to Sedbergh School to take on Lancashire firing the starting gun on Essex’s 50-over campaign.

Ahead of a group stage that will see the Eagles face eight fixtures in 22 days, an invitation was sent to several watching pundits to give their predictions on how the competition might play out this year.

Those who contributed are Martin Smith from the ECB Reporters’ Network, Daily Mail cricket correspondent Paul Newman, presenter of BBC Radio Essex’s Around the Wicket Victoria Polley, freelance cricket journalist Ciaran McCarthy, and Aaron Viles of The County Cricket Podcast.

First things first, what do you make of Essex’s overall chances in this year’s tournament?

Martin Smith: Because of the exodus of players to The Hundred, and no clear form lines for the competition, it is difficult to assess. An improvement on last year’s sixth place in the group would represent progress.

Paul Newman: Essex have lost quite a few players to the Hundred, but opportunity knocks, and I think this is a great chance for the Eagles to win another trophy. How about a Championship and One Day Cup double to complete the summer?

Victoria Polley: I’m excited to see how Essex do this summer. They need more consistency in results compared to last year to get to the knockout stages, but I think there will be a good mix of experience and young talent in the side to continue what has already been a great summer.

Ciaran McCarthy: I feel as if Essex have a good chance of going all the way. They have a very good core of youth players, and there are some experienced, in-form players alongside them.

Aaron Viles: I think Essex have a strong chance, and I really like the mix of youth and experience that the Eagles have at their disposal this year. With the ever reliable Tom Westley at the helm, Simon Harmer returning to the fold and an exciting crop of youngsters ready to make their impact felt, I reckon Essex will be strong contenders for a top three place in Group A.

Who do you think will be Essex’s leading run-scorer?

MS: Last year’s One Day Cup sparked a resurgence in Tom Westley’s form with two centuries and two fifties in seven innings, and there is no reason why he can’t rise to the occasion again.

PN: I think Robin Das has the chance to make his mark in this competition. He has come off the Wanstead production line and has a great future.

VP: It’s hard to look past the experience of captain Tom Westley, who had a great One Day Cup campaign with the bat last summer too. I also wouldn’t rule out Robin Das continuing to show his class across all formats with the bat this summer.

CM: Robin Das is one to watch after he paired a great introduction to first-class cricket by scoring a ton against Ireland with some good scores in the Blast.

AV: I also can’t look past Tom Westley. The former England man has been in imperious form with the bat in the County Championship and finished as Essex’s second leading run scorer in the One Day Cup last season with 335 runs at 47.85. I think this year he’ll go one better and top the charts.

Captain Tom Westley is being tipped to continue his County Championship form in the white-ball arena

Captain Tom Westley is being tipped to continue his County Championship form in the white-ball arena

How about the Eagles’ top wicket-taker?

MS: Jamie Porter is enjoying a purple patch with a red-ball in the Championship and that can be replicated with a white-ball in the One-Day Cup.

PN: It was great to see Jamie Porter in the wickets in that Championship win over Hampshire and he’s my tip to take many more in the 50-over competition.

VP: Simon Harmer comes into the competition in great County Championship form, but I also wouldn’t rule out Jamal Richards picking up where he left off in last year’s competition.

CM: It would be difficult to suggest anyone will have as much of an impact with the ball as Simon Harmer.

AV: How can anyone look past Simon Harmer? He’s looked in ominous touch across both formats for Essex so far this season and will be eager to make up for lost time after missing last year’s competition.

Who is your one to watch from the Essex squad?

MS: Because the One Day Cup has been turned into a development competition, it would be wrong not to pick an up-and-coming player. It will be interesting to see if 18-year-old batsman Noah Thain is as good as his figures suggest.

PN: As well as Das, keep an eye too on Jamal Richards. With opportunity will come real progress for the all-rounder.

VP: I’m looking forward to seeing more of teenage all-rounder Noah Thain, who signed a rookie contract this summer. He’s impressed with bat and ball in the 2nd XI and Academy games and hit some HUGE boundaries in his first class debut against Ireland earlier this season. More of that please!

CM: While it would be remiss not to mention Simon Harmer, I feel Das will really begin to break through in this competition.

AV: I’ll also choose Robin Das, who really impressed me with his classy shot selection and temperament on his first-class debut against Ireland. He had a decent time in the 2022 One Day Cup as well; 202 runs at 28.85 made for solid reading considering it was his debut List A season. With additional playing experience under his belt and a plethora of scoring options at his disposal, I highly recommend Essex fans keep a close eye on Robin’s development for many years to come.

Many of the panel believe Robin Das will be in the runs for the Eagles in August

Many of the panel believe Robin Das will be in the runs for the Eagles in August

Who is your player to watch out for from the whole of Group A?

MS: Lancashire’s young wicketkeeper-batsman George Bell has impressed in two Championship visits to Chelmsford in the last 12 months and deserves his chance to shine in the shorter game.

PN: I’m going for Lancashire’s Josh Bohannon. He’s a good player who doesn’t seem to feature in T20 cricket but should be a force in the 50-over game.

VP: It’s always hard to know who is going to feature in the competition before we get going but I’ll say Tom Prest for Hampshire who had a good campaign last season and was part of the T20 Blast side who made it to Finals Day.

CM: Keaton Jennings will be keen to make up for the time he’s had to sit out due to injury this season. The One-Day Cup represents a chance for the Lancashire batter to surpass his 390 runs from last season and drive his side into the knockouts.

AV: Funnily enough, I’ve chosen a former Essex man; Chigwell’s very own Rishi Patel. After a bitterly disappointing 2022 campaign I back Rishi to come back with a vengeance. He’s proven that he can score big in this format in the past and has impressed with a slew of memorable performances in the County Championship and T20 Blast over the past few months.

Which three Group A teams do you believe will make the knockout stages?

MS: Hampshire, Lancashire, and Leicestershire.

PN: I’m going for three from Essex, Surrey, Lancashire, and Hampshire.

VP: I think it will be between Essex, Hampshire, Nottinghamshire, and Lancashire.

CM: Essex, Lancashire, Kent, and Yorkshire have some of the strongest squads.

AV: Considering that five out of the six playoff teams from 2022 make up the group, it’s going to be an absolute dogfight for those top three places, but I’ll go for Lancashire, Essex, and Leicestershire.

Finally – and maybe the most difficult question! – who do you think will win the whole competition?

MS: Lancashire.

PN: Essex!

VP: My heart says Essex, but my head says Hampshire.

CM: It’s genuinely difficult to look past Essex; the fact that Simon Harmer – who led them to the runners up spot in the T20 Blast – will be available gives them a massive boost alongside exciting young talents such as Robin Das and Jamal Richards.

AV: If the last two editions of the tournament have taught us anything, it’s that we should expect the unexpected – neither Glamorgan nor Kent were highly favoured before the start of their respective winning campaigns. With that in mind, I’m going to back Warwickshire.