2021 County Championship: What to look out for as competitors returns after hiatus in 2020

Essex Bob Willis Trophy

Essex added the 2020 Bob Willis Trophy to their 2019 County Championship triumph
Dates: 8 April – 1 October
Coverage: Live ball-by-ball BBC local radio commentary, live text commentary & reports across the BBC Sport website and app with selected matches simulcast on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra

The County Championship makes a welcome return on Thursday after it was shelved in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With restrictions slowly being lifted in England and Wales, fans can once again look forward to a full season of domestic cricket, although it’s going to be a bit different to what we’ve been used to.

BBC Sport takes a closer look at how the 2021 campaign is going to work and some of the players to look out for.

The format

The 18 first-class counties will be split into three groups of six, a change from the eight-side Division One and 10-team Division Two in place when the County Championship was last played in 2019.

Each county will then play 10 four-day games in the group…