I don’t know about you, but I think there’s going to be some seriously fierce competition for players this winter.
Faced with greater issues in signing from overseas, counties are scouring out of contract lists and I’ve now seen five/six county cricket supremos stating that they’re looking for a top batsman, spinner and seam bowler.
Warwickshire are the latest with Ashley Giles, the “King of Spain”, bemoaning the fact that he’s had a knock back from Stephen Moore.
He’s one of several people after Yorkshire seamer Ajmal Shahzad, while Matthew Hoggard doesn’t lack for suitors by all accounts.
If the tightening up of visas is extended to the players counties can sign for that second overseas berth in the Twenty/20, I’d be amazed if there’ll be enough to go around. It crossed my mind that a county could look at someone like Adam Gilchrist, Matt Hayden or Glenn McGrath for that role, who may qualify under the “five Tests in five years” regulation.
Whether these guys want a county stint is a different matter. McGrath is now the carer to his two children after the tragic death of his wife, while Hayden has a burgeoning media (and cookery) career. What is sure is that with Chris Rogers in Australia we have a foot in the door with such players if that was the route we decided to take.
What is clear is that we have to be patient. We all want to hear news of new signings and for some, anything less than a name – a Hoggard, maybe a Shafayat – will be a disappointment. The likelihood is that we may sign a younger, less-known player with something to prove but who won’t have the fans getting too excited.
I don’t recall many getting worked up by the signings of Tim Groenewald or Garry Park last winter, but both had a splendid first season. I’m convinced that Lee Goddard will also do well, as Wayne Madsen did when he came into the side last season.
As I’ve said before, we have money available having released four batsmen (Stubbings, Birch, Telo and Hinds) while we’ll also have the money from Langeveldt/Hayward/Law as well as Mark Lawson. Logic suggests there’ll be a saving on the wicket-keeping position too, with the experienced, established and capped James Pipe on a higher salary than Lee Goddard.
How it is spent is down to John Morris. When there’s any news, you’ll read about it on here!