Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sunday special

There's a round of applause this morning for the mercurial talent of New Zealand cricket, Jesse Ryder, who equalled the record for sixes in an innings by tonking Australia A for SIXTEEN on his way to an innings of 175. That some came off the part-time bowling of Ed Cowan detracts only slightly from a remarkable effort by a good cricketer. It's just a shame that some of his off-field antics have detracted at times from Ryder's explosive ability with a bat in his hands.

Indeed, with Guptill, McCullum, Taylor and Ryder in their top five, New Zealand have as exciting an array of batting talent as there is in the world. All have played exciting knocks in recent months and the forthcoming series against Australia will be worth keeping an eye on - if for no other reason than to see who does best between Martin Guptill and Usman Khawaja. It will be the first time that two current Derbyshire players have played in the same Test since the halcyon days of Taylor, Miller and Hendrick, though I'm sure that John Wright and Michael Holding may have faced up at some point. I know that Khawaja isn't technically a current Derbyshire player, but I reckon he could well be before too long...

Khawaja did well against South Africa, producing a gritty innings that laid the foundations for their subsequent win. Australia's biggest issue right now is finding a fast bowler who can stay fit. Siddle, Tait, Lee, Johnson and now new boy Patrick Cummins have all had issues and that will always affect their team performance, especially when those left aren't quite up to the standard of the heroes of yesteryear. I still don't see Khawaja making the Aussie one-day setup sometime soon, so think he is still the most likely overseas player for the second half of next summer.

The IPL auction, which comes up soon, will perhaps determine availability of players but I don't see many English stars appearing, as the tournament runs until May 27, by which time the Tests against the West Indies will have taken place.

Meanwhile, Derbyshire's players are back in training ahead of what could be a fascinating and enjoyable 2012 season. We should see the fixtures this week, always an event to shorten the winter a little. Anything that takes the edge off the howling winds and rain that is currently lashing our house is welcome...

See you soon.

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