OXFORDSHIRE will bid to get their Unicorns Counties Championship Western Division campaign up and running when they host Shropshire on Sunday.

They started this season’s three-day format with a crushing innings and 42-run defeat at Cornwall a fortnight ago in a match which saw the opening day washed out.

Oxon are determined to bounce back at Banbury, but are without captain Jonny Cater, who is unavailable.

Harry Smith takes over and is hoping to continue his 100 per cent record as skipper.

“I have only captained Oxfordshire once before, in the final game of last season against Wiltshire which we won,” he said.

“I guess the pressure is on to keep that going.”

Smith knows Oxon need to show a big improvement from their defeat in Truro, where there were few positives.

“We were very disappointed,” he said.

“We certainly need to bounce back because we have set very high standards this season and we fell well short of them in that match.

“We didn’t bowl well enough and then certainly were not good enough with the bat.”

Callum Russell is recalled to take over as wicket-keeper in Cater’s absence, and as a reward for their performances in white-ball cricket, opener Shabaaz Alam is recalled and there are debuts for Horspath all-rounder Tom Cosford and Buckingham seamer Russell White.

Tom Condon, Tom Price and Joe Thomas are all unavailable and miss out.

Alam comes into the game in fine form, having scored 533 runs in his last five Cherwell League innings for Twyford.

His instructions from Smith will be simple.

“He just needs to go and play his natural game,” he said.

“There’s no need for him to change the way he bats because it’s red-ball cricket – he is in form and hopefully can continue that.”

Oxfordshire: H Smith (Leamington, capt), S Alam (Twyford), G Andrew (Ombersley), J Butcher (Abingdon Vale), O Clarke (Banbury), T Cosford (Horspath), H Eltham (Oxford), J Garrett (Downend), R Kaufman (Old Northamptonians), C Russell (Thame Tn), R White (Buckingham Town).