Sorry about the late blog today but I've been painting the staircase. I've now earned enough brownie points from my recent decorating exploits to last me until at least next July, maybe even longer...
So Yorkshire have released Matthew Hoggard who is not at all happy at what has happened.
He's not the first to leave the White Rose county under a cloud, but there was a time when such blood-letting was an annual ritual, celebrated as the clocks changed every year.
There was Brian Close, Ray Illingworth, John Hampshire, Phil Sharpe - the exodus of talent from Yorkshire was extraordinary, many of them players who still had so much to offer.
Hoggard is still a good player and strikes me as the sort of bowler who would prefer to stay up north, which has led Sky Sports to name us as 9-1 favourites to sign him. Thanks to "Anon" for letting me know that, as I've not seen Sky Sports all day!
Such things are often based on a little inside knowledge, which may lend credence to the idea that he will sign, but, sorry to rain on the parade, but I just don't see it.
Maybe I'm doing the guy a disservice, but if Yorkshire reckon he turned down a "very generous" two year deal with an option for a third, I just cannot see how we could afford him in the light of the new regulations on the age make up of sides next year. The idea seems to be that there'll no longer be the "old lags" clogging up the County circuit, but that it will be chock full of lithe young things who will turn our national side into an eleven of super heroes.
There's a lot of top players who have probably peaked once they've passed 30. Think Gooch, Gatting, Ramprakash. How many runs Hick scored after he was 30. Go back further and how many Jack Hobbs scored after he was 40. I know that the game was different then, but this Memorandum of Understanding is well, nuts. Who's the best spinner in England? Robert Croft is still up there for me, at what age? Who's the best batsman? Ramprakash at what age? Why should the cricketing public be deprived of watching top players just because legislation suggests they should be traded in for a younger model, almost certainly inferior.
Matthew Hoggard is a fine bowler. Always has been, in likelihood always will be. He's also an ex-England bowler and as such will be looking for big money, way outside our compass.
The same goes for Monty Panesar. He's a bowler of talent, but, despite some improvement, is still only a tail ender and a very average fielder. He's another who will command a big salary, or at least will ask for one. I think that he'll end up at Edgbaston, where Ashley Giles has made no secret of his interest. Where that leaves Ant Botha is anyone's guess.
So in short, I think that Matthew Hoggard is a fine bowler who would do a job for Derbyshire without doubt.
But unless Rupert Murdoch is going to sponsor him, or Keith Loring has come up on the pools, it ain't gonna happen.