There have been a few requests for my T20 team in recent days and I have to admit that I find this harder than the four-day equivalent.
I had mentally pencilled in an overseas batsman at the top of the order and so have had to revise my plans in that area. Paul asked me last night whether I was disappointed with the signing of Matt Henry and the answer is no. You can't be disappointed with the signing of a highly-rated fast bowler of international standard. Surprised, perhaps, but I fully understand the rationale and am hardly going to set my T20 credentials against those of John Wright...
For what it is worth, here is my suggestion for a T20 eleven.
I'd love to find a place for Ben Cotton and Tom Milnes, while I think that Ben Slater has something to offer in the format too. The debate over the respective merits of Gary Wilson and Harvey Hosein will rumble on for a long time, but I think this team has potential.
There is no obvious six-hitter at the top, no Wes 'n' Ches of years gone by, but we must remember that they weren't built for speed and what they gained in slapping to the fence they sometimes missed out on between the wickets. Remember too that you can score ten an over without clearing the boundary.
Luis Reece is a really clean striker of a ball and a left-right combo at the top would do no harm. At the talks I did in Lancashire over the winter, a good few people told me that they were astonished to see Reece released and that they rated him highly. He is the only left-hander in the side, strange after last year when we had Chesney, Rutherford and Neesham, enabling us to have that combination through the middle order.
Meanwhile Tom Wood is a naturally fast scorer who could prove a surprise package as a relative unknown at this level. Don't overlook his excellent batting last summer and some breathtaking knocks for the Unicorns, as well as our second team. Anyone who can score, for example, 67 from 35 balls against a Nottinghamshire attack of Ball, Christian, Mullaney, Carter, Wood and Gurney has plenty to offer. Tom can bat and, just as David Warner did, could find a way into four-day cricket through success in the shorter formats.
Shiv Thakor scores quickly anyway, Gary Wilson offers quick running and boundary clearing ability, while Wayne Madsen's role could be fluid, he and Smit ensuring that someone gets through to the end. The latter has a reputation as a finisher back home, but could equally open or slot in anywhere down the order. I'll confess to being a fan of your best batsman being in early and on that basis there is also a case for Wayne going in at three.
Alex Hughes is a steady seven and can score quick at the death, while Critchley, Henry and Viljoen are all capable of clearing the fence in the closing overs, which would make all the difference. We bat long and don't discount their talents.
Count 'em. There's nine bowlers there, including two quicks, three leggies and a left-armer.An attack for all surfaces and I can't think there will be many turning tracks away from home against a side with that most dangerous of short format bowlers. We could easily bowl two fast bowlers and three leg-spinners, which would open a few eyes!
As I say, it is tough to select a side and a batting order. Actually it is impossible, without knowing who is in form at the time and there are plenty of options outside that eleven who may impress John when he arrives in this country.
I'm sure you all have your ideas too, so let me see them.
What is sure is that we have a squad that can challenge. No rash promises, but wouldn't it be great to emerge from the group stages for the first time in many years?
With a canny coach in John Wright and plenty of mobility in the field, there is every possibility we can do so.