Ah, 'tis the weekend. And indeed, there's just four sleeps left until Christmas and just one more working day for me until I get four off (party at my place....)
My curiosity was aroused and my appetite whetted by an article that I came across this evening on the Sky Sports site. It suggested that a high profile player is in the pipeline and quotes Karl Krikken as expecting to have something sorted "early in the New Year, if not before". The article also suggests that neither Martin Guptill nor Usman Khawaja are expected to be that player.
While there's always the possibility that this is media guff, the fact that Krikk is being quoted suggests that news of our crucial overseas signing may indeed be just around the corner. A correspondent on the Forum goes as far as to name eight players and start a poll as to who fans would like to see in the role.
I felt moved to reply earlier tonight, as I felt that the point had been rather missed. The club has been pretty honest in their assertions that we are seeking a batsman of quality - which it must be, if we are to REALLY have a crack at division one. Too many on the list were bowlers, with most of the others unlikely because of the international cricket calendar.
I know no more than the rest of you at this stage, but have every confidence that if a big international name is available we will at least be in the mix for his services. I also feel that with an able and ambitious back room team, a squad of talented young players and, crucially, first division cricket we have a lot to offer. Having come close to signing Chris Gayle for last summer's T20, the money side cannot be the issue that was once the case, so we must be patient and trust in the skills of Chris Grant and Karl Krikken to net a top quality player.
Things have been moving around the country. Nottinghamshire have signed Ed Cowan for the first half of the summer, a signing that made me smile. Had Derbyshire picked up a likely Ashes participant, I could envisage the media having a little dig about our giving them a 'net' in English conditions prior to the series starting. As it is, there's been nothing much said about it, though it increasingly looks like there is a small pool of international talent to choose from next summer. The overseas players so far announced by counties are largely good professionals, rather than established international names.
Glamorgan - Marcus North
Gloucestershire - Michael Klinger
Hampshire - George Bailey
Kent - Brendan Nash
Lancashire - Simon Katich
Leicestershire - Ramnaresh Sarwan
Middlesex - Chris Rogers
Nottinghamshire - Ed Cowan (to July)
Somerset - Alviro Petersen, Abdur Rehman
Surrey - Graeme Smith
Sussex - Steve Magoffin
Warwickshire - Jeetan Patel
Smith looks the best so far at Surrey, though Somerset have picked up solid players - which you can do when you turn in £450K profits, of course. Our horizons may or may not be more modest, but as long as we can get someone who can nigh-guarantee a thousand runs he will do me.
Finally tonight, the Staffordshire press suggest that Audley all-rounder Rob Hemmings has earned a place on the Derbyshire Academy. This may be jumping the gun, but any 17-year old who can score a thousand runs for his club in a season has to be worth a look. Alan Hill is a good judge of a cricketer and apparently rates the lad, so that will do me.
That's it for now. I'll be back before Christmas with a review of the new Derbyshire DVD, together with seasonal greetings. Between times keep well...