Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Leicestershire v Derbyshire preview

And now, the end is near and so we face the final curtain.

Four days to go until we sigh with the realisation that there will be no more cricket for six months or so. Or at least, cricket that counts. England will be on tour, but if, like me, you look on them as a side attraction, it's going to be a long cold winter.

Tomorrow's game should be sponsored by Farley's, as Derbyshire can rarely have put younger team into the field for a match. While rusks and milk may not be on the lunch menu, the Derbyshire team will have a youthful look. With no Kolpaks and no overseas player and with Tom Lungley and Jon Clare injured, the team pretty much picks itself as there's only a handful of players left.

John Sadler will be disapppointed to miss out on playing against his erstwhile colleages but can have few complaints after a poor year. Graham Wagg celebrates a year's extension to his contract by taking the captaincy in this side:

Paul Borrington
Steve Stubbings
Dan Redfern
Greg Smith
Dominic Telo
Tom New
Graham Wagg (captain)
Jake Needham
Ross Whiteley
Ian Hunter
Wayne White
Mark Lawson

Some interesting names in there. The biggie is former Yorkshire leggie Mark Lawson "probably" playing to see if he's worth a contract for next year. "Probably" is the official line, but it ould be a big surprise if he didn't play. What would they learn if he carries drinks for four days? I'd like to see him do well and earn a contract. There's something about leg-spinners that sends batsmen into panic on occasion and he has produced enough at Yorkshire to be worth a gamble. There's little option on the spin front and as a season progresses I'd see value in such a bowler, with harder tracks (if it ever stops raining...)

Ross Whiteley gets his first senior Championship call up after good performances for the second string and is another who could earn a contract. The other week he reminded me of a coltish young Kevin Dean against Glamorgan and although he was overtaken by nerves on that occasion, he showed enough at the crease to suggest talent as an all rounder in time.

Dom Telo has one last chance to put a nightmare first season to rest but I think we'll see more of the diminutive South African, who looks poised and organised at the crease. He needs a good winter in the indoor school and some sun on his back and we should see the strokeplay that earned him such a reputation back home.

It was so gratifying to see Graham Wagg show loyalty in the face of interest from other counties, including - surprise, surprise - Warwickshire. I'm sure that Waggy must have wondered where these offers were when he was looking for a club after his drugs ban, as Derbyshire were not involved in a bidding frenzy for his services at that time.

Now, however, he is a fine all rounder and one who would be welcomed into any side. I'm delighted that he will be in ours for the next two years and hope that we can secure some silverware with his assistance.

While a defeat with a young side would be no disgrace, a win would be a good way to go into the winter.

Go boys!


Matt, Littleover said...

I do hope we persevere with Lawson into 2009, regardless of what he does in this match - I've never bowled it beyond messing about with the grips, but leg spin must be the hardest thing to just pick up and be successful with in a stop/start fashion. His one match for Middlesex was at Uxbridge (not the raging turner it once was)against the South Africans so I think they treated him unreasonably in ditching him so quickly.

I do think leg spin is coming back into fashion in English county cricket in a big way when you consider how many wrist spinners there were bowling in 2008 (Borthwick, Danish Kaneira, Imran Tahir, Gitsham, Marshall, Parry, Malan, Voges, Munday, Mushtaq Ahmed, Beer, Schofield,Salisbury, Rashid, Voges) - now not all of those were world beaters, and some were chinamen bowlers or firmly in the occasional class, but it must be the most amount of wrist spin bowled in an English summer for many years, and so more pitches may start to be prepared to take more spin and/or bounce in the next couple of years.

Peakfan said...

Yeah, good call Matt. Think we need to encourage spin somehow and leggies do tend to offer something a little different, even if they can be expensive on occasion.
Thanks for the comment!