Saturday, 18 July 2009

Weather eh?

So last night was the expected washout and the action moves tomorrow to Old Trafford, where there are marginally better prospects.

After losing to Lancashire more easily than they would have liked in one day games this season, Derbyshire will hope for a better performance. There'll be no Andrew Flintoff this time, who took us apart at the County Ground, but Lancashire will doubtless field a strong side.

Derbyshire will rest Steffan Jones and Graham Wagg tomorrow for Tuesday's Championship game against Middlesex, which will give opportunities to Tom Lungley and the fit again Nantie Hayward. The forecast for much of next week is showery weather, but we'll be hoping for enough time for the game against the country's bottom club to unfold.

John Morris has also said that if we drop out of the hunt for prize money he will give opportunities to squad players to stake a claim for a place. There's a few young players - Ross Whiteley, John Sadler, Dominic Telo among them - who will want a chance to impress and improve their chances of a contract for next year.

Logic suggests the game will be another win for Lancashire, but Derbyshire CAN beat them if they bowl the right line and length. By all accounts they did so superbly at Cheltenham. I suspect that the game may end up being a 20-over bash anyway so we could be right back where it all went wrong.

News on Sky Sports this morning that plans for an additional 20-over competition for next season, the so-called P20, are close to being scuppered due to County opposition. Good. To accommodate it they would need to prune the Championship still further and quite frankly they are going to burn out players with this form of the game. Yesterday I wrote of my sadness at the demise of the 40-over game and in this morning's Derby Telegraph John Morris says that it is his favourite form of the game and that players were "worn out" at the end of a game. No wonder, with all the diving around they have to do. The days when Yorkshire's skipper told off Bill Bowes for diving to stop a ball are long gone, but the demands on seamers today in the field are substantial. I saw Stuart Broad hold a great catch at Lords yesterday and wondered whether Fred Rumsey, Ole Mortensen, Harold Rhodes and others would have got near it. They all need to be athletes today, for better or worse.

We need to preserve the Championship as the Holy Grail of the game, the one that makes us Test players and is the true form of the game. I suspect we'll end up with another extension to the 20-over competition where they play maybe 16 games, but I still think we will see more of the 40-over game. It isn't dead, it's simply recharging its batteries.

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