There’s conjecture a-plenty around the boards regarding our overseas targets for 2011, with all sorts of names being bandied about. In answer to a question on my post yesterday, I haven’t a clue when we’ll hear a name. These things take time and there will be agents involved, contracts to be signed and returned, visa eligibility to be confirmed etc.
As I’ve said before, there are lots of counties trying to sort things out now the IPL auction is done and dusted. We should bear in mind that while John Morris has made offers to two players there is no guarantee that they will automatically accept. One or both may be the subject of interest from elsewhere and they may wish to see if a more lucrative offer comes up. Like it or not, that’s the way it works.
What should also be remembered is that to qualify for a visa the players need to have played one Test in the last two years, or five in the last five years or 15 one-day games in 5 years. That rules out a lot of people…
IF both of our targets were genuinely in the mix for the IPL but rejected there’s only a small handful of options. Given the international calendar this summer, you can narrow likely targets to South Africa and New Zealand. I’ve seen a few suggestions of Chris Gayle, presumably based on wishful thinking and that Gayle missed out on the IPL, but there was a good reason for that. Pakistan tour the Caribbean in April and May, with India doing the same in June and July. Gayle, like Shivnarine Chanderpaul, has too many international commitments for a county deal, as he had for the IPL.
I’ve also seen suggestions of Ramnaresh Sarwan as an option. On the face of it that is a fair idea as he’s a good player who has been out of favour recently, but the West Indies are not so awash with talent that he can be omitted long term. Surely he will return in the next few months, probably in time for the World Cup?
Meanwhile Australia and Bangladesh meet in April and May with the latter going to Zimbabwe in July and August. Australia also go to Sri Lanka in August and September. Logically that takes Tamim Iqbal out too, together with a few Australians who could have been in the mix.
With all the big names in the IPL, there’s a very limited number of players to go around. Faf du Plessis, a very exciting South African all-rounder, said on Saturday that he’d love to return to Lancashire, where he spent time as a Kolpak. He wasn’t sure how many games he needed to play for South Africa to do so though (answer: one Test match or fifteen one-day games very quickly, as he’s uncapped right now.) The player would be an exciting asset to the county game, but it is unlikely to happen sometime soon, certainly not in time for 2011.
The only positive news, if we can be parochial and call it that, is that Leicestershire are the latest side to pretty much rule out a second T20 overseas player, in the light of losses of £400K last season. The news culminates a fairly horrible year for the Foxes and sees them join Gloucestershire, Kent and Worcestershire in doing so.
While there’s still no news on our accounts from last year, the news that John Morris is likely to have two overseas players for the T20 is a mini-miracle. To me, that suggests that either Keith Loring and his team have played a blinder (knighthoods must beckon…) or there’s been a little help financially from members of the Committee.
Or maybe John Morris has found a world star who, in a spirit of altruism, has agreed to play for nowt…
All will doubtless be revealed in time. For now, just enjoy the feeling of anticipation.