All sorts of stuff flying around the message boards at present as the fans of various counties state the case for their county being the natural home for Matthew Hoggard.
Some are laughable. Somerset? Warwickshire? He'll be shattered by next September if he opts for those counties and more specifically bowling on those tracks. Leicestershire are the first side to declare an interest, but that's a whole world apart from being able to sign him. A contributor on In Morris We Trust suggested that surely we could match a side like Leicestershire, but if we have the lowest playing budget in the country then they have more - bit of a no brainer, that one. Allied to the fact that they essentially have a young squad, on uncapped (in some cases) salaries and they'll have money in hand. They've signed a relatively unknown Aussie (Andrew McDonald) as professional for next year (and probable captain) and also have Will Jefferson lined up.
I could see Hoggard going there, maybe Lancashire, maybe Nottinghamshire (he's over 30 after all and the Trent Bridge Rest Home for the Elderly has a vacancy or two...) but I'd be surprised if he went further south. Money talks, of course. Maybe he'll trade the convenience of not moving house with reduced wage demands, but based on the 100K salary I've read about he's got a fair bit of coming down to do...
Of course, another factor, as pointed out by Derek Pringle in the Telegraph today, is that he only played Championship cricket last year. Such a salary for essentially a part time cricketer is pushing things a tad. Its the same with Monty Panesar, who you can't see being much more than a Championship player given his only average fielding and minimal batting ability.
I am very confident that John Morris will come up with a very good spinner for Derbyshire in 2010. He knows cricket and cricketers and has a lot of contacts in the game. The likelihood is that the man who will come in will be another in the preferred Morris mould - a guy who can contribute with the bat and at least hold his own in the field.
On comments from today, sorry DCCC Forever - I don't see Hoggy as a replacement for Langeveldt. Yes, he's an ex-international bowler but he's not, unlike Langeveldt, a bloke who I would expect to keep it tight in the one dayers. If it was moving, Langers would get wickets. If it wasn't, he'd keep an end tight. You can't ask for more yet I've seen Hoggard get some serious stick in one day cricket.
A name mentioned on In Morris We Trust today is Jason Krejza, an Australian off spinner of Polish descent. I would be very, very surprised if Krejza was in Morris' sights. With 74 wickets in first class cricket at 48, that would be a heck of a gamble and the stats suggest that he's not as good a spinner as James Middlebrook or even Jason Brown!
As I posted on IMWT, another who will attract interest from counties at some stage is Aussie with a Portuguese passport Moises Henriques. A couple of my Aussie pals reckon he's a class act with bat and ball. He is also firmly on the radar of the Australian national selectors and if he continues with his impressive World Twenty/20 performances will have them taking even greater interest.
Anyway, tomorrow is another day, as Scarlett O'Hara once said. Maybe this time tomorrow we'll have some news to get excited about.
If I say it enough I'm sure it will happen...