My current absence from work due to what I'm now told is a lung infection had an upside today.
I'm now on the mend thanks to antibiotics that made my wife's eyebrows raise, thanks for asking, though her enquiry as to whether I was supposed to swallow them or put them up somewhere did make me wonder for a while. Still, they're having the desired effect and I can now talk and breathe without sounding like an eighty-a-day smoker on his last legs.
On doctor's orders I've been taking it easy, so throughly enjoyed a superb Big Bash match today, where a Brisbane Heat side with no major imported names beat a Kieron Pollard-inspired Adelaide Strikers on the last ball. The Strikers must have fancied their chances when they posted 185-8, Pollard hitting 48 from 23 balls without seemingly middling more than two of them.
Somewhat strangely, however, they'd omitted the fast but erratic Shaun Tait for a very ordinary-looking Michael Neser. Despite an early wicket for the underrated Johan Botha they whittled away at the total but still needed 15 from the last over, then four from the last ball. It duly went to the boundary, where a despairing dive from Michael Klinger required a replay to decide the ball had touched the marker.
It all made me hope to see Derbyshire win that sort of game in the next couple of years. Our focus must be the County Championship and I hope that our major recruitment of an overseas player is with the longer game in mind. Yet we really do need someone at the top of the innings who can muscle the ball to and over the boundary. Luke Pomersbach did that for Brisbane with an impressive 65 from 39 balls and Derbyshire could do with a batsman for the 2013 T20 who could do a similar job.
I'd be surprised if such an announcement were made anytime soon though. Players who don't make the IPL cut will be more amenable to a county stint, while those who fail to make their national squad for the ICC Trophy will be especially so. I think that a few talented South Africans would be an asset to counties, particularly when that country seems to have a surfeit of batting talent right now. The highly talented Quinton de Kock has made their national T20 squad, which is packed with talent but still omits Amla, Kallis, Duminy, Ontong and Ingram, to name just five.
While the first three for one reason or another won't be on the county circuit, Justin Ontong and Colin Ingram, like Richard Levi, Roelof van der Merwe and Johan Botha have much to offer discerning counties looking for proven records in the short form of the game. So too does Dean Elgar, a far better player than his pair against Australia suggested. When one also considers that Albie Morkel now seems far removed from the national squad, it isn't hard to see why that country is now up at the top of the world rankings.
With Chris Morris seen as a likely hard-hitting, aggressive bowling all-rounder and Henry Davids and Farhaan Behardian earning growing and glowing comments, they look set to be as big a force in the short game as in the Test arena. Certainly Martin Guptill will be under no illusions as to the challenge faced in the coming weeks in that country.
Finally tonight, I see Derbyshire are appealing to businesses for support ahead of the 2013 campaign.
I hope that they are successful. A top-tier sports team from the county deserves commercial backing and the benefits of being associated with such a side are obvious. The club are looking for £250,000 of additional backing ahead of the season, but with many ways of getting involved it would appear that they are quietly confident of getting people on board.
They deserve it.