Saturday, 11 July 2009

Derbyshire set for Wayne's World

If you read this week's earlier posts, you'll see that I have been suggesting a move for South African batsman/all rounder Wayne Madsen (pictured), who has been starring for the Second Eleven this season and performing with distinction as captain and professional for Unsworth Cricket Club in the Central Lancashire League.

So I am delighted to be able to say this morning that Madsen will make his debut for the county tomorrow at Cheltenham, replacing Steve Stubbings in the batting line up.

In his appearances for the Second Eleven this season, the South African, who plays for Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Dolphins in South Africa, has registered scores of 69 not out, 0 not out, 135, 83, 29, 60 and 2 not out. In addition, he averages 87 as captain and professional at Unsworth, as well as taking 38 wickets at an average of ten each with his off spin. At 25 he looks a great prospect and is able to play County cricket on the same terms as Michael di Venuto, holding an Italian passport.

I applaud John Morris' speed in signing the talented South African in the face of interest from other counties but would urge a word of caution in anyone expecting him to translate the above figures into an immediate return at County level. Madsen averages 35 in South Africa and we should see his signing as a medium to long term one. It is unrealistic to expect him to drop straight into the County game and produce statistics like those above as the jump in level is substantial. Nonetheless, the South African is obviously a player of talent and one would hope that if he impresses a contract for 2010 will follow.

As for tomorrow's side, Nantie Hayward is injured, Tom Lungley suspended and Ian Hunter rested, although Steffan Jones is likely to make his debut for the second time (can you make two debuts?) I would expect the side to line up along these lines:

Chris Rogers (captain)
Garry Park
Wayne Madsen
Dan Redfern
Wavell Hinds
Greg Smith
James Pipe
Graham Wagg
Jon Clare
Jake Needham
Steffan Jones

There's a youthful look to that side, with only four of the side older than mid-twenties. Long gone are the days when we signed old lags from other counties and showed all the alacrity of an arthritic greyhound in the field.

As for Gloucestershire, they bring ex-Yorkshire spinner Richard Dawson into their squad, which suggests they expect the track to turn as the game goes on. With Needham, Smith, Redfern, Wagg and now Madsen all spinners or capable of bowling spin in the Derbyshire side, we shouldn't be found wanting if that happens. The hosts 12 is:

Kadeer Ali
A.Gidman (capt)
S.Snell (wkt)

It will be a good match and I just hope that the weather allows it to unfold properly. Gloucestershire have a strong batting line up with ex-Kiwis Spearman and Marshall fine players and Gidman a regular thorn in Derbyshire sides over the years. Meanwhile their opening attack of Lewis and Kirby is as good as any in the country, with James Franklin, the New Zealand all-rounder giving good support.

The game will be a good test for Derbyshire and we should not forget, in the face of the usual grumblers, that the side have almost reached the halfway point of the season (this match marks the halfway mark) as the ONLY unbeaten side in the County Championship Second Division. It would be a good game for Chris Rogers to produce the really big score we have been waiting for and for Wavell to continue his excellent form. If the others can continue to work and make us a hard side to beat, we have no reason to be frightened of anyone.

And if Steffan Jones makes a prodigal return and Wayne Madsen an encouraging debut, I hope that there's a few people prepared to eat a little humble pie. It would have been very easy for John Morris to sit back and say "this is what we have". Instead, he has gone out and strengthened the side for what should be a very interesting second half of the season.


Anonymous said...

This is a general point but the number of foreigners playing in county cricket is just ridiculous and here we have another one!

Peakfan said...

I agree to a point but while regulations allow it, why should Derbyshire penalise themselves by not picking up good players. especially young ones who might qualify for England one day?
In tomorrow's squad we have Park, Madsen and Smith with Saffer background with Redfern, Clare, Wagg and Needham young English guys of a similar age. My main concern is seeing a good, competitive Derbyshire side, picked within the regulations. The presence of young players of such talent is encouraging and I don't have a problem with it.