Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Networking...

I like it...

I thought that sort of stuff only permeated my workplace and I'm not sure if I'm happy or sad to see it more widespread.

So cricket coaches network too. Do they also indulge in "blue sky thinking" (another I hate)?

Anyway, John Morris is apparently chatting to his network of contacts about players but as I wrote a couple of weeks back, the notifications of approach to counties is pointless. Morris says that players simply use it as a bargaining tool which is absolutely correct. Only the poor players won't get anywhere and we wouldn't want them.

Interestingly Morris is keeping tabs on Mark Lawson of Yorkshire. He is a similar age and has similar experience to Jake Needham, but if nothing else, if we were to sign him it would keep both on their toes. There are hardly any decent spinners around and one who has time to improve is definitely worthy of consideration. Lawson has taken a couple of five wicket hauls and although expensive at times, leggies can also be dangerous in the right conditions. Most who have played the game would agree that the ball leaving you is harder to hit than the one coming in, and Lawson has a reputation as a big spinner of the ball.

Morris says in the Derby Telegraph today that he wants a spinner, a batsman and a seam bowler. He also said he had money in his budget BEFORE Clarke and Doshi left, so we shouldn't be short of bargaining power. It all depends on players being available and signing for the sake of it would be silly.

I find it hard to see where players may come from if we assume that he'd be happy with the two Kolpaks we have in Hinds and Langeveldt. I'd hope that Telo and Sadler might kick on next season and would hope for Tom Lungley to be fitter than he has been this time. If this were the case, we'd be looking at just small tweaks as Morris suggests.

I'd be surprised if Steve Stubbings was retained. I think he's a top bloke and, like Kevin Dean has been a great servant. He has had a wretched year though and has made little impact even in the seconds. I know he's had Benefit Year distractions, but he seems to me the most vulnerable if we were letting another batsman go. We would need to replace him though and should remember that Paul Borrington won't be available until June next year with University commitments.

I thought that we might let two from Hunter, Dean and White go, but Kevin Dean's retiral may mean a reprieve for both. Hunter has bowled well in recent weeks, while White has time on his side. Again, we can't afford to go light on seam bowling with Lungley's track record. Both Graham Wagg and Charl Langeveldt have played through injuries this season and it would be unrealistic to expect Jon Clare to get through a season unscathed next year (OK, apart from Wavell's spikes at Chesterfield).

I still say we should go for Cork. Personalities apart, I'll take talent any time and Dominic is still a dangerous bowler. I'm mystified as to why Lancashire have kept playing him, having said he would be released. Surely this was the time to give a youngster a chance? Whatever the reason, Cork has continued to bowl with accuracy and skill which will no doubt impress a lengthy list of potential suitors.

There were rumours that Steve Kirby may be on the move, but the Gloucestershire bowler, while a 100% trier, isn't in the Cork class.

For what its worth, and based solely on who I have heard is up for a move, I'd sign Dominic Cork, Ian Blackwell, Mark Lawson and Mark Hardinges. Another three all rounders and in Lawson a lad who can handle a bat and has potential. Hardinges is a Paul Aldred-type player. Never the headline act but those with decent memory will recall the year Aldo basically bowled one end for us as everyone else got injured. I rate Hardinges as a solid county player, especially in one day cricket.

Like one or two others, I also like Jim Allenby of Leicestershire, but think there's plenty of others would do too and I'd sooner spend money on a proven match-winner like Blackwell.

So there's some food for thought this evening. I'm now off to get dinner and then watch England lose (probably) to Croatia.

See you soon.

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