I've been pretty good this year and so I'd like to ask for one early Christmas present if you don't mind.
Please, please, PLEASE let Derbyshire turn up and play like the team we know they can be tomorrow night in front of the TV cameras.
Like everyone else, I'm really fed up with watching us on Sky as if we've put an X in the "no publicity" box, with the end result that you get the usual suspects spouting the usual guff about "poor" and "little" Derbyshire. Or "Derby", which we're not. One of the commentary team (clue, his name is Bob Willis) so annoys me that I've often wished I could do a Uri Geller-like stunt and take control of his microphone, ending with it shoved somewhere a microphone really shouldn't be...
It's up to the boys tomorrow. The side we're playing aren't exactly world-beaters, but in one day cricket most sides we play all of a sudden resemble a fantasy side.
There's a side of encouraging strength pencilled in for tomorrow, with John Morris announcing the following 12:
It's good to see Wayne Madsen in there and I'm sure he'll adapt well to the one day game, having played plenty of it back home and, obviously, in the leagues.
I'd guess that the final place will be between Jake Needham and Tom Lungley and on recent form I'd expect Lungley to get the nod, allowing Chesney Hughes another game after an encouraging debut at Edgbaston. It is a useful AND youthful side, with Wavell dropping out. Who knows, maybe the Sky guys might praise our youthful look and the players coming through. Or is that asking too much?
No news of the Leicestershire side at present, though Tom New and James Taylor will be buoyed after receiving their county caps this week, while Wayne White has broken his personal best three times in a week. Given their willingness to blood young players, it should be two of the youngest televised sides on TV this year.
Elsewhere today, news that Hampshire are in discussions with Kabir Ali, though like other potential suitors, they may be put off by Worcestershire's looking for £60K compensation for the last year of his contract. I'd reckon that would rule us out of the game, if we were ever seriously in it.
Another couple of names that have been mailed to me today are Mark Footit from Nottinghamshire and Craig Spearman. I'm not sure whether Spearman is qualified to play next year with the new visa regulations, but a suggestion that he could be engaged a la Stuart Law to play in one day matches isn't the daftest idea I've heard. He's five years younger than Law and a punishing batsman at his best, but there have been suggestions that a bad blow to the head he took earlier this year has shaken him badly, something that might affect any decisions.
Footitt has looked like a left arm quick of some talent for the last couple of years, but the cynic in me suggests that the reason he has been released by Nottinghamshire is less his injury record than the fact that he's under 30...
23 wickets at 30 in nine matches suggests a lad who could be a good bowler if he got fit. Another left armer would be no bad thing as we've lost that variation when Graham Wagg has been injured. I know Atif Sheikh bowls that style, but he's maybe a year or so away from a first team push. Local, available, affordable... let's hope his Twenty/20 game against us was a mere aberration. 2-0-34-0. Still more economical than our guys in the Twenty/20 this year!
Tomorrow's blog will be later to allow for the finish of the Leicestershire game. Here's hoping I'm not typing through tears tomorrow night, or with clenched fists...