Sometime tonight, maybe tomorrow this blog will achieve its 12,000th hit of the season.
Amazing, and about eleven and a half thousand more than Rikki Clarke managed this year...
I'm sorry, I'm feeling unusually caustic this evening and the reason is our erstwhile skipper's parting comment that this had been "a year wasted".
Really? You should try it from our side Rikki. If you'd batted like Boycott, bowled like Langeveldt and still caught everything while captaining the side with the mental alacrity of a Brearley and we'd still been hammered every week I could understand that comment. Put another way, it was quite frankly a waste of money, thats what this year was.
A waste of money by the club, who paid a lot to secure your services and deserved better. A waste of money by the members who have witnessed a man who patently couldn't care less since July and for those who have followed the team around the country and deserved a little more respect over the past few months. All of them are worthy of much more than "it was a year wasted".
I don't deny that in any falling out there are usually faults on both sides. The usual solution is that people sit down and thrash them out, they don't run away into the sunset with their pockets full of swag. As I said last night, Clarke was never going to have fans on his side, as Botham did at Somerset, as Boycott did at Yorkshire as Cork and Barnett did here. The majority of fans are still very much on John Morris' side and can see the progress made on and off the field, even if at times it is not translated to results. Both he and Don Amott have maintained a level of dignity thus far that Clarke could only aspire to, saying only that they won't keep a player who doesn't want to be here.
Which is absolutely right. The bottom line is that if Clarke did as badly next year and results are no better, then people will start to question the coach. I firmly believe that with Morris, Hendrick and Krikken we have a dream team, with Messrs Amott and Sears doing excellent work off the field.
If Rikki Clarke had performed remotely up to his supposed standard we would have done much better this season. For 90% of the time we carried him and I am afraid that with his crass and disrespectful parting comments he has alienated the few people left who felt any degree of sympathy for him.
It is amusing to see he still harbours England ambitions. For what its worth Rikki, so do I, but there'd have to be about 750,000 cricketers in this country unavailable before I get the call. As I posted on the Derby Telegraph site this afternoon, Clarke wasn't in the top three all rounders at Derbyshire. Graham Wagg, Greg Smith and Jon Clare are all much better players and all are model professionals.
I am really, bitterly disappointed by the comments made. In years ahead, I hope he comes to regret them and if his time at Warwickshire doesn't work out, maybe he needs to face the fact that he isn't anywhere near the player that he thinks he is.