Monday, 16 May 2011

Monday musings

Not over yet was correct in his post of last night, in that every under-par Derbyshire performance from now on will possibly attract the type of comment that we saw last night underneath the Sussex article. I don’t have a problem with it, unless it gets personal or unless there’s someone, as was again the case last night, who is trying to make out they are several people banging the same drum. In either case it takes me about two seconds to delete and it is very obvious when you’re doing this. Please feel free to make your point but don’t try to make it look like there’s an angry mob backing you…

The bottom line is that yesterday we lost to a Sussex side with six players of international experience. We have one, who has one Test match to his name. It wasn’t quite David v Goliath but it makes our beating them at Derby all the more laudable and is put into perspective by the fact that they have so far hammered everyone at home.

As I said last night, the loss, heavy as it was, does not make us a bad side, any more than three straight wins made us world-beaters. Our aim must be to be competitive and if every player is not at the top of his game we won’t be, at least against the better sides. Even if we are, if our opponents from those better sides are also playing to their ability, we’re still likely to take a beating. Class tells, you know.

We have some good players and Durston and Madsen took us to the edge of a good total yesterday, but the mid-innings collapse from 164-3 to 170-8 was disappointing. Better sides than us have problems in the powerplay and it was just one of those days.

Realistically, ten an over from those last seven overs would only have given us 230 and Sussex won in a canter after what appeared to be ordinary bowling and less intense fielding than we have seen of late. Chesney Hughes has a great pair of hands, but anyone who has played cricket at any level and hasn’t dropped an easy catch is a liar…it happens.

As Steffan Jones said in the Derby Telegraph this morning, and I posted yesterday, this performance had nothing to do with the loss of John Morris. We have had and will have flat days as we are a young and relatively inexperienced side. Look around the country and others have had them. Hampshire and Surrey aren’t doing too well, Somerset have had a nightmare or two and so have Nottinghamshire. All these counties have far better players, on the whole, than we do. Players who have played the highest level of cricket possible, yet still underperform on occasion when they aren’t at their best.

There were plenty such days under John Morris, as there were under Dave Houghton, Adrian Pierson and Phil Russell. When we had Cork, Malcolm, De Freitas, Barnett, Adams and Bowler in the side there were poor displays, even when Dean Jones and Les Stillman were at the helm. The team under Eddie Barlow and the 1930’s side had some bad days too. It will also happen under Karl Krikken and any coach in the future.

It happens. If you can’t deal with it that’s unfortunate but only your problem. It doesn’t mean that people aren’t trying, though. Just that sometimes, as you’ll find in your working life, your best on a given day isn’t quite good enough.

Here endeth the lesson…

On a separate note, how strange that Warwickshire were only docked eight points for the pitch at Edgbaston during the recent match against Worcestershire. Even more extraordinary is their decision to appeal against the decision, presumably on the grounds that it was the media, not the umpires, who alerted the pitch inspectors.

For me that is beside the point and indicative of umpires failing in their responsibilities. When several batsmen are getting hit on the head and chest by balls flying off a length, the wicket is patently unfit. In recent years we have had teams penalised more heavily for wickets offering undue movement and assistance to bowlers. If I was a batsman I’d prefer batting on the latter any time to one where my thoughts flashed constantly to upgrading my life insurance.

I know that in the old days of ‘sticky dogs’ the ball would fly around as a wet wicket dried and batsmen rarely lasted long against bowlers of skill. By the same token, such wickets with the law changes are no longer acceptable. I like to see cricket wickets where the bowler can test a batsman, but there’s a world of difference between having your technique examined and your features rearranged.

Ashley Giles is claiming that the development work at the ground is behind the problem. Fair enough, but if they can’t get better surfaces than that, they should be using outgrounds more often at present. Having turned the square around, Derbyshire’s groundstaff are to be commended on wickets that produce excellent cricket so far this year. Successive championship home matches have gone to the last afternoon and one can ask for no more than that. There seems to be early assistance for bowlers and encouragement for them thereafter, exactly as it should be.

Warwickshire should have been docked the maximum points. Whatever the reason, an unsafe pitch is an unsafe pitch. Any county penalised for a track that ‘only’ offers bowlers too much help from here has a right to feel aggrieved.

Do you think we’d have got away with it?

Me neither.

PS Speaking of Adrian Pierson, it was nice to hear from him in relation to our current situation. The ex-Derbyshire coach, now a pilot, posted as follows:

The best man for the position is already there!!!! Luke Sutton as player manager... He is an excellent man manager and motivator, he understands the game and leads by example. The fact that he is not of "outstanding" talent is also to his advantage because he has to work hard to achieve. The bare fact is the club has limited cash to invest in the best, therefore the committee has to target specific competitions to win and structure the squad accordingly. Going for high profile names such as Ricky Ponting is a costly risk. Also going for 'old' ex-player favourites doesn't mean that they have the required people skills necessary to empower the players to express themselves with confidence AND play for each other. Save the "new coach" fee and invest it in the TEAM!

All the best to you; the supporters and the CLUB.

Adrian Pierson (very ex-manager)

Thanks for getting in touch Adrian - I hope things go well for you and its good to see you still follow the club's fortunes!


mastervillain said...

I think Pierson has commented well.

Whatever anyone's personal view on the past week or so, there is no point dwelling on the past. No one is going to reverse matters, no one is going to muster a large enough group of militants to lobby a radical change.

It is now time to look forward (in more ways than one) to the rest of the season.

Marc said...

If there are people pretenting to be someone else,why not ask everyone to put a name to their comments (as i always do).That way you can pick the ip addresses and highlight which comments are not genuine and let us all know. My comments are there to be shot down,like everyone elses but i will stand by them and at least people know which are mine.