I'm not sure whether to start tonight by thanking the club or Twitter for the 40 Tweets that bombarded my phone this afternoon and made it sound like something was dying in the office. I wouldn't have minded but 39 of them gave a blow by blow account of yesterday's match and the other said "good draw on Friday." Where they got to between times I haven't a clue as my phone has been on for two days, but today they chose a quiet post-lunch spell to spew into my phone like an especially spewy thing..technology huh?
Anyway, while the result at Yorkshire yesterday was due to an excellent all-round performance, the performances of Wes Durston and Wayne Madsen once again caught the eye, as they have in each Pro-40 game this season.
Durston’s sure footwork and powerful blows dovetailed beautifully with that of Madsen (or Madsden, as Paul Allott kept calling him) while their running between the wickets was, on the whole excellent. There were a couple of close shaves, but the pressure they exerted led to Yorkshire making a number of errors.
It was good to see, with Durston’s hoik of Rashid into the stand at deep mid wicket trumped by Madsen’s straight drive from Wainwright, which saw the ball land on the roof of the stand and roll into the street beyond. Yet their placement of the ball and timing of it so ones became twos was equally eye-catching and perhaps even more meritorious. You can’t always find the boundary, but if you keep working the ball into gaps there are runs to be had. You could see what the team have been working on and it was gratifying.
The undeniable fact is that if you hit a single off 75% of the balls in Pro-40 you’ll get 180. Add in your more profitable hits and your innings is on the road to success. Push and run may have been the basis of Tottenham’s football success in the 1950’s under Arthur Rowe but you can do pretty well at cricket with a variant too.
Neither Chesney Hughes nor Usman Khawaja has really got going yet but it is evident that when they do someone is going to pay. The commentators yesterday pointed out ‘flaws’ in their respective techniques but these are young players for who one has to make allowances. Maybe Hughes doesn’t always move his feet as he should and perhaps Khawaja does get squared up, but when the former is in the next breath compared in style to Chris Gayle and Matt Hayden and the latter is the bright hope of Australian cricket there can’t be too much wrong…
What the two of them managed in both weekend games, of course was to give us a brisk start. That is so important in one day cricket, especially in the early powerplay, and it takes some pressure off the later batsmen, even if they get out, like yesterday, in the process.
Greg Smith has been in fine form this season yet struggled to time the ball at Headingley. Nonetheless he supported Durston well, ran hard and worked the gaps in a battling display that boded well for the long season ahead. Times were that he’d have perished going for the big shot, but it was interesting listening to Luke Sutton yesterday. Derbyshire knew Yorkshire only had five bowlers and targeted the spinners as they couldn’t rotate them. We used six bowlers and didn’t need to turn to Park or Smith.
The only one of the top six who didn’t get in was Garry Park, who perished in the deep in the final over having had no time to play himself in. Yet Park, the most admirable of fielders, changed the game with his stunning catch to dismiss Adam Lyth. When you add in his useful seam and potential for runs it is hard to overlook him in a one day side, where he is often worth twenty runs with his brilliance in the field.
Fast forward a couple of months to the T20. Assuming that Clare, Groenewald and Jones (plus Palladino to give them a breather) for their hitting ability are the seamers of preference, where do you fit in Martin Guptill? Logically he would replace Needham/Rafiq, leaving spin in the hands of Hughes and Durston and with Smith and Park as back up. How’s this for a notional side?
Guptill, Khawaja, Durston, Hughes, Smith, Madsen, Park, Sutton, Clare, Groenewald, Jones.
Given fine weather and decent wickets that side should get some bums on seats and, irrespective of results, offer excellent entertainment. Though not a fan of the format, I’m excited by the potential of that line up!
PS One thing about the commentators, tempered somewhat by their newfound respect for Derbyshire. No, make that two...
Could they please note that we are DerbySHIRE, not Derby. And could Bob Willis please, just once, sound excited and/or interested? In the words of my old Dad, he always sounds like he's found a tanner and lost a quid and a sigh is a heartbeat away.
Lighten up dude! You're watching the chosen ones for God's own county!
PPS Yorkshire fans not happy on 606. One says conditions were difficult for spinners.
Maybe yours bud, but Ches, Wes n Jake did us proud.