News that John Morris plans to share overseas duties for 2011 comes as no real surprise given the congested nature of the international cricket calendar, though the identity of his targets remains shrouded in mystery.
The good news is that it appears we will have two players for the T20. I wasn’t sure that we would be able to afford that, and there’s still no news of a club financial statement. This has to be seen as a positive step as the season approaches however.
There are a few clues in Mark Eklid’s article, which if you haven't seen it is here:
The players we are after weren’t signed in the IPL auction, which one assumes means that they were at least in it. That rules out the big names, but regular readers will know I’d discounted them anyway. Presumably it also excludes Charl Langeveldt, as he was signed up. Again, for convenience, the list of players unsigned are here:
Possibilities? Adam Voges wasn’t signed but will probably be too expensive, nor was Wasim Jaffer. Loots Bosman and Robin Peterson also missed out, though the qualification criteria of these two is unclear. I couldn’t see Bosman as an overseas player for the second half of the season anyway, though I’d like to be there if he ever really let go in a longer innings. Peterson might struggle to get a visa after quitting international cricket for a Bosman deal, only to go back to it when the season ended.
I suppose that in the second half of the season a spinner would be useful, but I can’t see one other than Peterson. Ajantha Mendis of Sri Lanka was unsigned, but has potentially a lot of international commitments. As it was, Peterson took more wickets in the first half of the season last year, though tiredness and injury niggles could have been an issue as the season wore on. I can’t see Morris gambling on an unknown spinner, who wouldn’t have the international experience required for a visa anyway.
With the T20 in mind a ‘go to’ bowler would be useful. Among the names that missed out in the IPL and could potentially do an affordable job might be Ryan McLaren, formerly of Kent, a good seamer who can also hit a ball to distant parts. There’s also fellow South African all-rounders Vernon Philander and Johann Louw.
Two other observations. One is that the player for the second half of the season may not have been in the IPL shakeup and we're all reading too much into it. The other is how people still think we are going to sign Jacques Kallis, who just earned $1.1 million from IPL, or Chris Gayle who is tied up with West Indies for most of the summer. If it was a 'name' South African my guess would be Ashwell Prince, a fine player who is prepared to battle.
But sadly wasn't in the IPL shake-up. Drat...
If we're going to fantasise, I suppose we could all dream of Tamim Iqbal opening the batting in the T20 and late summer…just as long as we don’t end up with the too-long retired Brian Lara…