Friday, 30 September 2011

Something for the weekend

As far as I can see, Derbyshire are not too far away from where we need to be next season with regard to the squad.

At the risk of sounding like a detective or lawyer, consider the evidence and this notional team if you will:

Overseas batsman
Madsen
Hughes
Durston
Redfern
Whiteley
Wainwright
Clare
Sutton
Groenewald
Palladino

Reserve batsmen - Borrington, Lineker, Park (if required)
Reserve seamers - Footitt, Turner
Reserve spinners - Knight, Needham
Reserve wicket-keeper - Poynton

Summer contracts - Burgoyne, Siddique, Slater, Higginbottom, Wilson, Hughes (Alex).

That doesn't leave a lot of scope for new arrivals. Remember, we have a finite budget which is limited at best and have awarded new and presumably improved contracts to a number of players. Having a number of senior contracted players in the Seconds is not really an option, so for me it comes down to one simple question.

Do we bring in an overseas batsman or an overseas seamer?

I've been saying for weeks that the likeliest scenario is a reversal of the Guptill/Khawaja pairing (13th August if you don't believe me) and I still think this is our best bet. Both will know conditions better next season and should show improved averages as a result. By the same token, both are excellent and popular team men, fitting in well to an excellent dressing room. Their respective commitments won't allow for a full season role, but Guptill from April to June and Khawaja to the end of the season is a good combination.

Which, looking at the names above, leaves us light in the seam department. You can't do much about injuries and they happen to the fittest of men, but if any of our top three seamers had a bad one, we're left with two guys who, while pacy, are inclined to be erratic. We really need a back up seamer, one who can give them a break and be relied on to put the ball in the right areas.

That comes, of course, with experience and there may not be the money in the budget for an experienced man, nor anyone available. I've mentioned Ben Harmison before, but he hardly bowled at Durham last season. Naqaash Tahir from Warwickshire might be an option and is rated by Graeme Welch (despite their releasing him...) but has had his own injury problems. I'm unaware of anyone else, although Ben Sanderson of Yorkshire, at least on the evidence of his bowling at the County Ground last year, might be worth a punt as an albeit inexperienced option, as could Ally Evans. The latter took a lot of wickets for the Seconds but is also raw and prone to inaccuracy, as well as potentially being at University again next year.

As always, I'd appreciate your ideas and comments, but remember - they have to be out of contract for us to sign them, so the likes of David Balcombe from Kent (OK, Hampshire really) isn't an option!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Years ago players didn't move whilst under contract but as we see on a regular basis they do now!

Peakfan said...

Shouldn't happen though Anon. A contract should be that from both sides. Appreciate you sticking a name on future posts if possible!
Cheers.

Alan said...

Peakfan,

In some senses I can't really argue against the side you have put together, but I do have that uncomfortable feeling that on most occasions three frontline seamers will not be enough. As far as his bowling is concerned, Whitely is 'work in progress'. He may well have a better bowling season in 2012, but I hope that he gets some effective coaching during the winter/spring, before the next season starts.

To add another seamer to the side you have picked, I confess that I don't know who I would leave out. Certainly I wouldn't leave Whitely out, even allowing for my earlier comments. On his batting and his fielding alone he merits a place in the side. On the evidence of what I saw this past season, his fielding puts him second only to Park (and a close second at that)in those available for selection, and Park will likely not play most games.

If all our fast bowlers, Footitt and Turner included can manage a little more control, putting the ball on the spot so-to-speak, and make it 'do' that little bit extra, we will surprise a few next season methinks! Then again, all counties will be saying the same to their bowlers.

Peakfan said...

Yes, Alan. I suppose the classic attack is three seamers and two spinners. I don't know if Durston/Hughes/Redfern are good enough to be a genuine second spinner to Wainwright, but there will be times when a fourth seamer, even to bowl a few tight overs while the main bowlers have a breather, is necessary. If Whiteley could do this, let alone take wickets, he will be of great value. If he could manage 20 wickets, in addition to his runs and fielding, he will be a godsend!

mastervillain said...

I agree with you both, first Peakfan on the likely line up, pending the overseas man and, secondly, Alan, as regards the little extra we might need in the attack at times.

If the ball is doing a bit, as they say, for the seamers three, we will likely do well. Equally, we now have more scope in the spin department for 2012 with Wainwright's arrival. It is the flat/nothing doing wickets that might prove the problem.

I can see a case for a seamer, a leggie or a batsmen really. Not all together I should add, although if there is one guy that fits the bill, that is fine by me! In some respects, a Piyush Chawla type player could work well, but that particular player has not got enough recent international appearances in his cupboard to qualify I am sure. He is probably satisfied enough with the IPL opportunities in any case. The same probably goes for Yusuf Pathan and he is still just about in favour with the India board.

Putting the conjecture aside, one option that does look a banker is Guptill's return. Peakfan could very well be right with the role reversal theory involving Khawaja, unless he is now more precious to Cricket Australia than he was a year ago and they want to 'protect' him.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Atif Sheikh too. He should be looking to push on next season as well. Although at present probably also suffers from the same fast but erratic problems as Footit and Turner.

Peakfan said...

I'm less sure about Sheikh to be honest and am aware of some problems he has had this season. Whether they can be sorted we will need to wait and see.