Sunday, 27 May 2012

A look at the rest

When you are looking for reasons for Derbyshire's success this summer, one has to look at shortcomings in other teams as well as at the positives from our own cricket. I have written ad infinitum about the merits of Derbyshire's cricket, but one also has to look further afield for reasons too, allowing a full picture to be viewed.

Essex? They are a side of quality, hence the reason for our euphoria in beating them so convincingly on Friday. Yet the loss of Cook and Bopara to England and ten Doeschate to the IPL leaves their side with a more vulnerable underbelly. Derbyshire's bowlers exposed that admirably and you can only beat who is in front of you. Nor have big signings performed for them - Alviro Petersen has 235 runs in 11 innings, 145 of which came in one; Greg Smith averages 14 with the bat and has six wickets at 49 each...

Glamorgan cannot bat an eyelid, that's the short answer to their form. Marcus North has three fifties in his four innings so far, but previously Moises Henriques, a strange choice as overseas player, averaged just 5 from eight innings. No other batsman averages more than 23, with the previously reliable Jim Allenby currently making just 11 each time he goes to the crease. It is hard to see them turning the corner this year, to be honest.

Gloucestershire have a fine New Zealand batsman in Kane Williamson and a pretty good one in Hamish Marshall,  yet apart from that their batting is functional rather than flashy. Alex Gidman averages just 18, having been the cornerstone of their batting for years, while only his brother Will, with 23 wickets, appears to offer a real threat with the ball. They have missed Jon Lewis, without a doubt and other bowlers need time to develop.

Simon Katich has done his usual job for Hampshire and Sean Ervine is a good cricketer, but again the batting has been patchy and the bowling is heavily reliant on Balcombe, who has 33 wickets. The rest are taking their wickets at 29-35, too high with the wickets they have had at their disposal. Their highly rated young batsman James Vince, often spoken of as an England possible, averages 22, the same as Paul Borrington...

Kent have done well under Jimmy Adams, a shrewd coach who has recruited well and been rewarded. Brendon Nash has proved, as I wrote might well be the case pre-season, a shrewd overseas signing, while Michael Powell, Rob Key and Darren Stevens make up a powerful batting side. Coles and Shreck have made a good opening attack and they will be in the mix at season-end, our games with them likely to be pivotal to eventual success or failure.

Leicestershire have a very good overseas player in Ramnaresh Sarwan and it is laughable that he can't make the West Indies Test side. Yet support has been sporadic and talented young batsmen have proved less reliable than ours. The bowling suffered the loss of Hoggard for a few games and it is hard to see them bowling teams out twice, especially when Henderson appears to be not the bowler he once was.

Northamptonshire are a strange side, with batsmen doing OK without being spectacular and bowlers likewise. Their overseas player Vaas has only four wickets in four matches and at Derby bowled at roughly the pace that I do - and I'm nearly twenty years older. They will be mid-table, but someone needs to kick on with bat or ball to enable them to make a push in the second half of the season.

Yorkshire? Rumours persist it is not the happiest of camps and while they will not lack runs, it is hard to see who will bowl teams out. Sidebottom has 13 wickets at 35 and, after the departure of Shahzad, Rashid has only nine wickets at 49. They must be kicking themselves at letting David Wainwright go and the county still has the unfortunate "talent" of under-achievement. Unless Mitchell Starc cuts a swathe through teams, I can't see Yorkshire with enough in the tank to win the games for a promotion challenge.

At the end of it all? Derbyshire have a great chance of promotion. I think the games against Kent and Yorkshire will be massive (a no-brainer that one) but I see nothing in either side to make me fear for our prospects.

Taking all the squads side by side, for all the batting talent at Essex (when they're available) and Yorkshire (when they fire) I wouldn't swap one of them for what Karl Krikken has at his disposal. As I said yesterday, if we can keep the bowlers fit and the batsmen scoring as they have thus far, we could well be celebrating promotion in September.


Anonymous said...

A pretty fair whistle stop review of CC Div 2 there, Peakfan.

Glammy have really fallen away badly. Wagg had shown some sign of a return to form but then got crocked, but North aside, the proposed name change to Glumorgan looks a reasonable reflection upon the current state of events.

Kent have done a remarkable repair job in many ways, mainly accumulating cast offs from other counties, but guys with ability nonetheless. With only Key, Stevens, Jones, Tredwell and Coles left as regulars from last term, they have formed an effective unit, if possibly lacking in depth.

The Tykes batting looks formidible on paper, but their attack less so. Hampshire, many bookies' favourites, just look short in depth, which I raised on the Forum at the onset of the season. Some good players here and there, but rather reliant on a few. Carberry, for one, should begin to figure more though.

As things are shaping up Kent, Yorkshire and Hampshire would appear to be the threats to us. However, none of them unduly worry me.


Marc said...

There is no reason we can,t stay at the top. The two matches against Yorkshire and Kent may not even be crucial,providing we do well in the others.It could be a case of simply making sure we don,t lose them. The next two games are biggies for me. Win both of those and we will be on very solid ground indeed.

Can,t argue much with your views on our rivals. I still think Hampshire could be dark horses. I was thinking Glamorgan might beat them but i should have known better really,shouldn,t I?. Essex are probably better than results are suggesting,but it will soon be too late for any serious challenge from them. I can,t thank them enough for taking Smith off our hands. The fools!. They,ve only themselves to blame. We told them often enough on here.

Let,s hope Kent get some of that rain they are longing for down there,whenever they are at home.

doctorhuw said...

It's terrific to see Derbyshire doing so very well - and I speak as the supporter of a rival club! I'm hoping that they get promoted and then stay up for a bit to confound all the prophets of doom (strangely, mostly linked with the Test-hosting counties) about how only 12 counties can be considered "first class" these days.

With regard to your analysis of other counties, they mostly seem pretty good. However, you have overlooked one big factor in Gloucestershire's erratic performance in the last couple of games - the absence of David Payne. To recap - David Payne is our left arm very fast bowler, who attacks opposition batsmen from an unusual angle that most of them have trouble dealing with. He doesn't play every game (he's still only 20 and others were given a run out at the start of the season) and then he got injured. But for me, he's our standout bowler - indeed, I would suggest he shades Sidebottom and Wagg to be the best left-arm paceman in England - and when he's fit again Gloucestershire could well surprise a few opponents.

I remain convinced that had Payne been fit, Gloucestershire would have beaten Yorkshire, and a batting lineup led by James Middlebrook would never have got to 400 had he and Will Gidman been bowling in tandem. So, if Payne is back for the next match - which isn't a foregone conclusion - I will watch to see how your batting deals with him with great interest.