There's perhaps a partial answer to yesterday's piece in the Derby Evening Telegraph this morning, when Mark Eklid suggests that Usman Khawaja may be back when Martin Guptill finishes and that the club are seeking "a high-class T20 specialist fast bowler". You can see the article at:
I have no problems with Usman Khawaja as the overseas player. He made a decent fist of a first overseas season last year and would, I would think, be anxious to build on that, to cement his growing reputation and extablish himself in the Australian side. My only concern is that he has only played six T20 matches in his career thus far, so could not be deemed an expert at the format. With one fifty in those innings and an average of 19, he would have to establish a reputation, that's for sure. He has the ability, without doubt, but I see him as a more classical batsman, perhaps in the John Wright or Chris Rogers mode, than as someone who will find T20 a natural game.
As regular readers will know, I have espoused the idea of a return to Guptill/Khawaja for weeks now, so am pleased that the first half has come through. If the second does too, I will be delighted. I think Khawaja will score heavily after the T20 - I'm just less sure of his credentials in the smack and giggle format at this stage of his career. By the same token, I wouldn't say no to Phil Hughes...
As for a fast bowler, there are a few obvious names we would all be pleased to see. Morne Morkel, Lasith Malinga, Brett Lee and Umar Gul are obvious names of the highest quality, but I have doubts over all of them. Morkel, like Dale Steyn, may be urged to rest before the England Test series post-IPL, while Malinga should earn a million in the IPL and may not need it, much the same as Brett Lee. Gul and his foot-crunching yorkers has appeal, but may well have his own international commitments.
I think it could be in the next tier down where our target lies. Perhaps "Rusty" Theron of South Africa would be worthwhile, a player who has established a reputation for accuracy and parsimony in the T20. He bowls tight lines, mixes it up and is difficult to hit in the closing stages of innings. He might also be tempted at the thought of a bowl in English conditions prior to the South African tour, as may Vernon Philander. Both can also hit hard lower down the order, so have appeal. Again, though, their cricket masters in the Cape may want them fit and firing for the England tour.
The other "name" player, I suppose is Australian Shaun Tait, who has his fans and whose career is built around T20 around the globe. I have to say I'm not really one of them. I've seen him bowl very quickly and dangerously, but have also seen him produce some shockingly inaccurate spells that have tested his side's wicket-keeper and the patience of his skipper.
For me, Tait is a higher profile Mark Turner or Mark Footitt. We all know the pace is there and at times it can be devastatingly productive. Yet it can be frustrating in equal measure and the player has suffered many injuries in his quest for lightning pace.
Peakfan's preference? Because I think the first four I named will not be available, I'd opt for Theron, but have the feeling that Chris Grant's phone bill will increase due to the increasing difficulty of convincing a top fast bowler that England in June is the place to be after you've had a nice little earner on the sub-continent.
I suspect we'll know more after the IPL auction next month.