Bracegirdle believes Notts can repeat title success

By Dave BracegirdleBBC Radio Nottingham cricket correspondent
Nottinghamshire CCC 2011
Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club's squad for 2011

Nottinghamshire's hopes of retaining the County Championship will once again be built around a four-pronged seam attack and a schedule which has again given them four out of their first six fixtures at Trent Bridge.

Lest anyone should forget, the title was won last year by the narrowest margin possible - more wins than Somerset, who also finished on 214 points.

Four of those victories came from the first four matches and greenish wickets early on will assist director of cricket Mick Newell, who has an abundance of bowlers available to exploit helpful conditions.

Andre Adams will hope to carry on where he left off last time around. His 68 championship wickets, including the dramatic final two to fall at Old Trafford, were a fitting reward from one of the hardest workers in the county game.

The Kiwi will be backed up by the evergreen Paul Franks, who had his best-ever season with the bat, as well as impressing with the ball.

If anyone could be described as a surprise packet, at 6'6" and with a couple of years experience behind him, then that moniker may go to Luke Fletcher.

A winter playing in Australia has seen him shed 20 kilos and increase both his pace and control.

Eight wickets against the MCC in Abu Dhabi, including the prize scalp of Rahul Dravid for a second ball duck, will also have increased the belief that he will fulfil his massive potential this year.

Andy Carter, a recent England Lion, Darren Pattinson, Charlie Shreck, new signing Ben Phillips and, when England commitments allow, Stuart Broad, will all feature in Newell's rotation plans.

The batting was occasionally brittle last season and better starts will be essential this time around.

Mark Wagh has been promoted to open, with Neil Edwards and Franks bidding to get the other berth.

Samit Patel has also returned to Trent Bridge looking extremely fit and ready should the national selectors follow up their winter enquiries about him.

Ali Brown, now 41, has admitted disappointment at not reaching 1,000 runs in 2010 and will be determined to succeed this time, whilst two of the young guns, Alex Hales and Steven Mullaney, are a year older and should both have more good days than bad.

The overseas slots are filled by friendly and familiar faces once again.

Adam Voges will begin the season - David Hussey will end it - with a nice coming together in the middle as both Aussies will participate in the FPt20 - another piece of silverware being strongly targeted this year.

Finally, a word of congratulations to the skipper Chris Read on being heralded as one of Wisden's Cricketers of the Year, a truly well-merited award for an outstanding competitor who continues to weigh in with both bat and gloves.

Wherever the champions' pennant flies this season, the opposition will lift their game but Notts will fear no-one, stick to their tried and trusted game plan and - in the humble opinion of this observer - go very close again.