Earlier today, contributor John asked who I thought should be the new Derbyshire coach.
I've already seen a few names mentioned. Chris Adams was one, but I've yet to see anything in Adams as a coach to match Adams the captain and player. He's struggled at Surrey and has had a lot of money to spend, so I don't see any obvious merit in bringing him back. I've also seen Shane Warne mentioned, which amused me, as he has negligible coaching credentials and would cost a lot more than we could afford. I will come back to him though.
Perennial names Andy Moles and Dougie Brown will no doubt be in the mix, as they tend to be whenever a vacancy occurs. Hand on heart though, I can only think of three who would interest me at this stage and one of them would be out of our league. That's John Wright, a coach with a solid international reputation but currently coach of New Zealand. I can't see him resigning that one to come back 'home'.
The second would be old county ground favourite Graeme Welch. Pop was a good servant to the club and could do a good job as a coach. At least he'd know what he was coming to.
Yet my preferred option would also know that, because he's already here. My vote would go to Karl Krikken. He is a top-qualified coach who knows the game and the players, with the added bonus of having been a Derbyshire man for a long time. He will keep everyone pulling together and get the best out of them. I'm sure he has every attribute required for such a role and now has the opportunity to stake a claim in the medium to long term having got the job to the end of the season.
Realistically a coach is usually only as good as his players. Eddie Barlow, who inherited a somewhat ragtag outfit, was an exception but it largely holds true. I could have coached Clive Lloyd's West Indies, or the Australia of McGrath, Warne, Hayden, Gilchrist and Waugh.
John Wright once replied, when asked how you coach the Indian side with its galaxy of talent, that you make sure that there are the same number of practice balls at the end of the session as there were at the start. At that level, players don't need a lot of coaching, just reassurance if they hit a bad trot, or a quiet word that they've started to do something that might affect their game.
I would sooner see us go for a marquee signing, mentioned in a couple of newspapers this week, who could do the sort of job that Eddie Barlow once did, given control of the playing side with assistance from Karl. Such a player would be much better value than a big name (and salaried) coach if we could get the right man - ideally someone retiring from Test cricket and available for a year or two. His signing would send out a message to other counties and would be a huge step in the development of younger players, who would look up to such a man.
Given the lure of the IPL, I can only think of one such player. While someone like Jacques Kallis or AB de Villiers would be fantastic, they can make serious money in India in a far shorter timescale than an English season. So too could the man that I have in mind, but the opportunity for one last challenge might just hold appeal for him, if, as rumoured, he retires from the international scene this winter.
Seriously, if Chris Grant could put together a package to persuade Ricky Ponting to come over, you'd be impressed, wouldn't you?
That would be my suggestion.