Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Cat among pigeons...

I know that this won't meet with approval, but hear me out...

I've changed my mind about Dominic Cork.

There, I've said it and I think we should try and sign him this winter.

It won't be easy and there'll be division one interest without doubt, but I've changed my mind about the club legend, which, whether some like it or not, he most assuredly is.

For one, I think he's matured over the past few years since he bought out his contract in 2003. Maybe a settled home life has something to do with it, maybe the need to be a role model for a teenage son of above average cricketing ability, who may end up at the Derbyshire Academy before long. When I read Stuart Law saying how disappointed he was that Cork's contract was not renewed it spoke volumes. Then when I read the comments of Lancashire fans on various boards it seemed to be about a different chap to the one who played here, in an atmosphere of increasing acrimony, for many years. They talk of his commitment (which we wouldn't doubt) and a couple of Lancashire lads in our club have said they have found him "very approachable".

Hmmm. Then look at his record this season. Not spectacular, but in both four and one day cricket he has taken his wickets at 25 and has bowled aggressively at times on bland tracks. His batting is still good enough to average around the same. Two more good Kent wickets today (Denly and Van Jaarsveld) on the way to figures of 20-5-34-2.

Last there's common sense. Does anyone think there'll be a better bowler on the market this winter? 892 wickets in first class cricket at 26, another 370 in one day games at around the same, together with a batting average of 25. He has been an outstanding player and in my humble opinion has at least another couple of years in him. A burgeoning media career lies ahead and that will be jeopardised if the immaturity that periodically dogged his time at Derby resurfaced. Cork was effectively in the camp of Kim Barnett, others weren't. I don't know the facts. Sure, I've heard stories, but these can grow wings and exaggerate to suit the needs of the teller. There were doubtless faults on all sides as there usually are.

It does not detract from the fact that a fit, motivated and committed Dominic Cork could add a lot to this team. Another who is rumoured to be out of contract this winter is Steve Kirby of Gloucester. A decent bowler, a trier, but in the same class as Cork as a cricketer? Uh-uh.

I'd be surprised if many agreed with me, but I'd hope that dissenters would fall short of tearing up their memberships if he returned. The vote on his return a few weeks back was overwhelmingly against, but that pre-dated the comments from the Lancashire camp and was based on our recollection of the troubled times of the early new millennium.

He'll not be short of suitors. Durham are supposedly interested, as are Notts (he'd seal his popularity if he went there!). Warwickshire almost certainly would be and several others too.

Cricketers of that calibre come on the market all too infrequently. If the silliness is consigned firmly to the past, yes - I'd definitely take Corky back.

The thing is - would John Morris?

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