I'd an e mail from Mike today, suggesting that I was perhaps unfair in suggesting that Martin Guptill, Usman Khawaja and Rana Naved were not world-ranked stars. I can assure Mike and anyone else who reads the blog that this was not meant as criticism, nor as a slight to players who I admire greatly for their ability and their willingness to pitch in as "one of the boys".
Indeed, in so far as players willing and able to play the county game go, there will be few better in the county game this year. I expect Guptill and Khawaja to comfortably exceed a thousand Championship runs between them - they have to, if we are to be competitive - and for Naved to be a stand-out in the T20. Why? Because he is one of the world's top T20 bowlers, as figures I produced on the blog recently substantiated.
My point was and is that unlike in the 1960s, 70s and 80s the real stars of the world game can no longer be lured to England. For Richards, Procter, Lloyd and Holding read Kallis, Smith, Ponting and Steyn. With their central contracts and IPL deals (if they wish) such players need county cricket today like I need a Robin Reliant as my next family car...
Therefore the next tier down - the up and comers if you will - are in demand and Derbyshire in Guptill and Khawaja have two of the best. In Naved we have a world-class operator who has been a success in England, Australia and Pakistan and his experience will be invaluable to a young side.
In short, we have the best available players within our budget. Could any county ask for more?