Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Derbyshire v Middlesex preview

Having previously said that the division is wide open, I would suggest that if any side were equipped to challenge for the title it would be Middlesex.

They have recruited extensively and one assumes expensively over the winter and have added some ballast to a failing side. Having nicked our erstwhile skipper by offering riches beyond our compass, they picked up the talented Corey Collymore from Sussex to replace the mercurial Pedro Collins. They then added Anthony Ireland from Gloucestershire, to partner the talents of England man Steve Finn and the underrated Tim Murtagh in an impressive seam line up. More recently Jamie Dalrymple has re-signed for them after leaving Glamorgan and he will add more durability to the middle order, as well as a useful spin bowling option. Presumably he’s not yet fit after his winter travails and isn’t in their squad for Derby.

While Owais Shah has gone to India…sorry… Essex, Scott Newman and Neil Dexter also line up in a side that should be in division one. Except they’re not and they’ll have to do it where it matters to get to that level, always harder than it appears.

Their squad of 12 is as follows:

Scott Newman, Chris Rogers, Dan Housego, Dawid Malan, Neil Dexter, John Simpson, Gareth Berg, Ollie Rayner, Tim Murtagh, Steven Finn, Corey Collymore and Toby Roland-Jones.

So there’s a decent line up, but I genuinely feel that we can compete against them and others in that division. Our own side has plenty of talent and if we can get runs on the board there will be few sides enjoy batting against disciplined bowling and some fine fielders.

As for us, its 'G'day' to Usman Khawaja, who lines up for his county debut after missing the opening fixtures. There's also a recall for Steffan Jones and Jake Needham is in the 12, which reads:

Wayne Madsen, Usman Khawaja, Wes Durston, Chesney Hughes, Dan Redfern, Greg Smith, Luke Sutton, Jonathan Clare, Tim Groenewald, Steffan Jones, Tony Palladino and Jake Needham
The latter is interesting. If we assume that Clare, Groenewald and Palladino will be the main seamers, Smith as back up gives us four of good quality. Do we need a fifth, or could we more productively play a spinner or an extra batsman on occasion? At this time of year I think the extra seamer gives John Morris a chance to keep them all fresh and bowl them in short spells. The fact that three of the four seamers named above can bat makes a big difference to the balance of the side. We've not had many better number tens than Steffan Jones in our history...

John Morris has nice decisions to make at the moment, with his bowlers staking a claim for a place in the side. If he can get Park and Redfern in the runs, or Lineker if he gets a chance, there will be tough calls to make.

Promotion battle? No. Way too early to talk about any teams as promotion contenders. When they’ve all had a chance to do something significant, good or bad, we’ll start to sort the wheat from the chaff, but both of these sides have the ability to be in the mix.

From a purely selfish point of view I hope we win the toss and bowl tomorrow. That way I've a good chance of seeing Mr Khawaja on a subsequent day. Maybe see you down the County Ground over the next day or two!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The guy who really impresses me amongst the Middlesex seam attack is Toby Roland-Jones. I hope he has an off day against us, but I think he has a better than evens chance of making the international scene eventually.

I hope our Aussie 'star' settles quickly.