While Essex star Alastair Cook fights for test form as England cricket captain, there's pressure of a different kind for his county club.
Essex's Colchester Festival starts today at Castle Park.
First up is the NatWest T20 Blast contest against Kent. Essex are bidding to secure a home quarter final by finishing in the top two in the South Group.
Then they host Hampshire in Division Two of the LV= County Championship, starting Sunday.
Producing good cricket wickets for the five days is the challenge for Essex head groundsman Stuart Kerrison and his team.
– Stuart Kerrison
We've been doing the pitches at Castle Park for the past ten or
twelve days. The weather hasn't been the best but they're looking alright. We work in conjunction with the local groundsman Jeremy. He pretty much does what we ask him to do with our pitches and then I come and take over ten or twelve days out.
"In terms of the pitches our head coach Paul Grayson wants a result
here. I would like to see a result here but my first concern is to
ensure that we don't lose any points. That happened down in Southend
in 1989, we lost points there which cost us the Championship, so we've
got to ensure that doesn't happen again. It's a fine line between what
the coach requires and what the ECB requires.
"I think it's a sell out for the T20 but it's the 4-day game that
needs good support from fans and from the corporate side."