Well, as the vegetable shop owner said when he went in to pay his library fines - there's a turnip for the books...
Lance Klusener released by Northamptonshire.
On the face of it, this is a strange move. The chap is currently top of the national averages with 73 per innings. OK, his bowling is pretty much gone now, but that's one big average, for the third year running.
The county say that they want to play more England-qualified cricketers. I can understand that, but only if they now release a few of the others. Van der Wath has had a decent season for them, but Andrew Hall, Rikki Wessels, Nick Boje and Jo Louw have all performed only moderately. If I was a fan of theirs tonight I'd be a little cheesed off and a quick read of their 606 board suggests most of them are.
Interestingly one suggests Derbyshire as his next stop...
Would we want Lance Klusener? The answer is probably yes, I'd have thought, with the only concern being that the usual snipers would moan about our being Kolpak central, which we're not in comparison to other sides. We obviously have both Charl Langeveldt and Wavell Hinds for next year and I'd love to see us confirm the re-signing of Chris Rogers in the near future. John Morris has said that he wants another top batsman and lets be honest, Klusener is that and then some.
The Englishman in me says I'd sooner see us sign an English player, but the Derbyshire fan in there (which more frequently surfaces and is rarely, if ever away) would be quite happy as long as it made us a winning side.
Make no bones about it, with English qualified younger players like Paul Borrington, Dan Redfern, Greg Smith, Graham Wagg, Jake Needham and Jon Clare in the side, I've no qualms about our "doing our bit" for the cause. The Glamorgan game on Monday highlighted a need for experience in there. Players like Akhil Patel and Ross Whiteley have bags of talent but are a long way from being county regulars.
John Morris' comments to the Derby Telegraph the other day suggested that he doesn't see too many batting options out there other than players released for poor performance. That being the case, there's a strong argument for making overtures to "Zulu" Klusener. Be honest, you'd like to see him in our colours next year, wouldn't you?
At 37 he's the same as Dominic Cork, but where his batting has improved with the years at the expense of his bowling, Corky seems to have gone the other way. Signing the pair of them would be massive, but we shouldn't kid ourselves at this stage that either will happen. exciting as the prospect may be.
The real tough call would be if Klusener and Ian Blackwell were both available and desperate (you never know) to come to Derby. Maybe the younger and similar style Blackwell would then be my choice, but imagine for a minute. You turn up at the County Ground next season and buy your scorecard. It reads Rogers, Borrington, Hinds, Redfern, Klusener, Smith, Pipe, Clare, Wagg, Cork, Langeveldt...
Settle back in your seats, it's going to be a good day!
Jason Brown has also been released and the off spinner has a good first class record. However, Staffordshire lad he may be, but over the last two years he has definitely lost his mojo and he has been a pale shadow of the player who was on the verge of England recognition a few years back. Maybe he has been flattered by the tracks at Northampton, which usually turned from day one. With not having to try to turn it too much he maybe has lost the art. I don't know, but while he is probably the most experienced spinner to come on the market this winter, I'm not sure if there's a need for him at Derby. I'd far sooner gamble on Lawson at Yorkshire and bring him on as a younger model. Brown is only an average fielder and a poor bat, so Lawson gets my vote.
Anyway, more food for thought. I'll be back tomorrow - please leave your comments if you wish, I look forward to hearing from you.
PS Got the England game a bit wrong last night... they were nearly as good as Derbyshire at our best!