I had a day off blogging yesterday as there was little to write about, to be honest. The only news, thankfully good, was that Chris Rogers will now be able to return to Derby next season due to an amendment to the regulations. Having had a visa for the past few years, Buck will qualify for 2010 and I'm sure that Derbyshire fans will rejoice at that news. Whatever else happens this winter, we'll not do a better piece of business.
I had a few e mails from people yesterday who said they'd no idea about the new regulations coming into force from next season, as I highlighted on Friday. All were the same as me - very sympathetic towards John Morris, who will effectively have to select his teams with both cricketing and fiscal matters in mind. A couple suggested that Chesney Hughes could be a batting option for us too in the Under 22 age group, but the reality is that he won't, as he is not yet English-qualified and would cost us more money when he plays until he does. Chesney may well have a big part to play in our future cricketing fortunes, but that won't be until his qualification period ends. Having said that, time is very much on his side at 18.
This week's poll ends in a few hours time and I have to say that the response has been great - thanks to all who voted. Having said that, I'm not going to have a poll for the forseeable future as I can't think of anything worth voting on at this stage. If you've any ideas, please let me know, but "is the water in the gents toilet at the County ground hot enough for you?" isn't one I'd be keen on running - so think on...
I'm astonished at how this blog has taken off over the past year and a half, with growth during the past season up by around 45-50%. Thanks to everyone for your support. It's something that I enjoy doing and I'm just grateful that there's plenty of people out there on a daily basis who keep tuning in. You will tell all your friends won't you? Though maybe not those who don't like cricket - and probably not those who are Nottinghamshire fans...
The findings of this week's poll suggest that the player most would like to see at Derby is Wes Durston, but to a great extent this poll has been overtaken by events. That Daily Telegraph article for me will dictate Derbyshire's signing strategy and if we're going for anyone it may be a young player who many might not have heard of.
For what it's worth, I think that Will Jefferson will end up at Leicester, with rumours suggesting he's been offered the captaincy. I've also read that Scott Newman prefers to stay down south and may well move across to Middlesex. Durston is a decent player but he's 28 and outside his "age of usefulness" if I could put it that way. Cynics could also suggest that what at first glance looks a respectable average of mid-30's is perhaps not THAT impressive when one considers most of his batting has been done at Taunton, where I reckon I might average 20 at my age...
He would have been my choice out of those names before I read that Telegraph piece. Spearman has been a terrific player but is a classic case of an "eye" player who's eye has gone. Shafayat too has been around for some time and has not kicked on, in either stay at Nottingham nor at Northamptonshire in between. A fair player, but would you bring him in to replace Madsen, Park or Smith? I know I wouldn't.
That just leaves Brown at Gloucestershire and I don't think that he's a good enough player for Derbyshire. Nothing he's done so far suggests a mercurial talent and a move for him would be a surprise.
I think we'll hear soon about things moving at Derby but John Morris will, quite rightly, keep his cards close to his chest. I hope that we sign Steffan Jones after his late-season heroics and we obviously, desperately need a quality spinner. We could probably use another seamer too, but the side for next season is likely to bear a more youthful look and be something along the lines of:
That side is much younger than this year, without the experience of Pipe or Hinds in the middle order. It will put more responsibility on Park and Smith to progress still further while the young guns will have a part to play. We'll see how they all fare when April comes around once more.
Whatever happens, I can't wait!