The broken finger sustained by Steffan Jones yesterday is a big blow to Derbyshire, especially in the one day game. It also adds to John Morris’ problems with his seamers and highlights how important it is for them to be rested when the opportunity presents itself.
Jones is likely to be out for a month, which would see him fit for the T20, but added to the existing injuries of Tony Palladino (hamstring) and Mark Footitt (ankle) it leaves Morris with only Jon Clare (thankfully recovered quickly from his own hamstring injury) the currently erratic Mark Turner, Atif Sheikh and the reliable Tim Groenewald. My understanding is that Palladino should be fit soon and that Footitt is not far away, but it also shows the merits of having a pool of seamers to dip into.
Given the above I wouldn’t see Jon Clare bowling too much in the current game, which will thus become a workout for spinners Knight and Rafiq and a chance to lock on the radar for Mark Turner. Losing two seamers in one match would veer from unlucky to careless otherwise.
Seam bowling is a heavy workload in the modern game. It always was, of course and old-timers will talk about the thousand-plus overs bowled in their day. Yet there was no expectation of throwing yourself around in the field then, with the injuries that go with it. Nor were there many bowlers who hung around too long with the bat, a quick slog usually being their goal. Now, numbers 1-11 all have a role to play and one only needs to look at the efforts of the last three at Leicester to see the difference that can make to a game and a season.
Who replaces Jones in the one-day side is debatable. We all saw his unerring ability to ‘hit the blockhole’ against Yorkshire last weekend and who can do that will be occupying John Morris’ mind over the coming days. A visit to Worcestershire on Sunday is no place for erratic bowling and their top three of Solanki, Moeen Ali and Kervezee will be ruthless on anything off line and length.
Maybe Morris will go for an extra spinner and include both Rafiq and Needham, as well as Chesney Hughes and Wes Durston. That would leave seam in the hands of Groenewald, Clare, Smith and Park and leave our side reminiscent of the India one of the 1970s, stylistically if not in talent. Useful as they are, Wes Durston is no Prasanna or Venkataraghavan, while Chesney has got a little way to go to reach Bishan Bedi standard…
Not a Chandrasekhar in sight sadly, but Tom Knight bowled a long spell today for four wickets, suggesting that he has talent in abundance. At the rate of his progress he will soon be in the side on merit as first choice spinner.