Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Warwickshire v Derbyshire preview

This time tomorrow we'll either be rubbing our hands with excitement or kicking the cat (makes mental note, must go and buy a cat tomorrow, just in case...)

With overcast conditions the toss will be vital tomorrow and we would love to win it. Derbyshire have announced a 13 man squad that is as follows:

Chris Rogers (captain)
Paul Borrington
Wavell Hinds
Greg Smith
Dan Redfern
John Sadler
Rikki Clarke
Tom New
Jon Clare
Graham Wagg
Ian Hunter
Charl Langeveldt
Nayan Doshi

So the Leicestershire Mercury was telling porkies when it said that New was playing his last game for us last night. The Nottinghamshire-born player has done very well for us and is in solid batting form. The key selection is Rikki Clarke - is he fit to bowl more than a few overs and is he in good enough form with the bat? If the answer to both of those questions is yes, then he should be in the side, though fans would question his batting form even if we don't know the state of his ankle. One assumes that we would need a front line spinner and that Nayan Doshi will play against the side that courted him last season before signing Ant Botha so that would mean that Ian Hunter misses out. The final place would thus be between John Sadler and Clarke as a batsman and given that neither have been in the form of their life, that's a tricky one. My gut feeling would be to stick with the ex-skipper, but hey - what do I know?

We'd then have an attack of 47-wicket Charl Langeveldt, Graham Wagg, Jon Clare, Wavell Hinds, Nayan Doshi and a bit of Clarke, Smith and Redfern (the latter a useful off-spinner). Plenty of options and importantly a lengthy batting side. Getting those last two places right will be very, very important for John Morris.

The hosts have a strong looking side out and their 12 reads:

Darren Maddy (captain)
Ian Westwood
Jonathan Trott
James Troughton
Tim Ambrose
Tony Frost
Ant Botha
Ian Salisbury
Neil Carter
Chris Woakes
Chris Martin
James Anyon

Ambrose, Frost, Troughton and Trott all average in excess of 50 for the home side though only two of them have exceeded 500 runs. Youngster Woakes has had a good season but their bowling doesn't look excessively dangerous - here's hoping I don't have to regret those words! The Warwickshire fans on 606 are not very happy and are talking about wholesale changes for next season, so if we were to win this one there'll be much wailing and gnashing of teeth down Birmingham way.

Kiwi seamer Chris Martin hasn't pulled up many trees for the Bears, and their biggest danger still looks Neil Carter, who although past his prime has the knack of bowling wicket-taking spells. They may well decide on one of the spinners for the final place but could play both as they can both bat and Anyon may miss out with the skipper Maddy and Trott bowling their seamers as extra bowlers.

It is all set for a battle royal. We could really do with the big name players standing up and playing the innings they have all threatened in this one. After the destruction of Middlesex, another win here could set the momentum for a successful end of season promotion push.

C'mon boys - make us proud to be Derbyshire fans!

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