Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Leicestershire v Derbyshire day 1

Taking all things into consideration, Derbyshire did as much as they could have been reasonably expected to do at Leicester today.

After Tony Palladino's stunning early hat-trick, Jonathan Clare and David Wainwright bowled well but it was Tim Groenewald who earned the accolades with a superb 5-29 in nearly 18 overs. Derbyshire bowled with control and discipline and will have been delighted with their day's work, culminating in getting to the close unscathed.

Realistically, the awful forecast for the week suggests we will get little else from this game but it should not detract from a fine day's work. The reasons for Derbyshire's success thus far are patently obvious - we have three outstanding seamers, all of who have taken between 24 and 31 wickets at less than 22 runs each. I said before the season that there was no better seam attack in this division and they have proved it in every game thus far.

All are right-arm bowlers but they are quite different. Palladino strikes me as a more "skiddy", Dale Steyn-type bowler, one who always has it in the right areas, quick enough to keep batsmen on their toes and experienced enough to mix it up, varying his line and length to good effect. His hat-trick today was a classic - one leg-before, one caught behind from a lifter, the third yorked in fine style. Top stuff from a very good bowler who took his 200th career wicket in the process.

Jonathan Clare is now back to the player he was when first bursting on the scene. A bad shoulder injury set him back mentally as well as physically but Clare is an excellent cricketer, one who should gain England Lions selection before long. He is perhaps the quickest of the trio, hitting the pitch hard and capable of golden spells that can change the course of an innings.

Then there's Tim Groenewald, who is now close to being the complete bowler. He bowls quick enough to hurry the best batsmen, but also has tremendous control, as highlighted by his conceding only two runs an over in the Championship. If there is anything in the wicket I remain confident that this trio can outbowl any side in the division, assuming the batsmen give them a chance. Groenewald has 24 wickets at less than 18 this summer and a career bowling average that is coming down by the year.

They are a fine trio and we are very lucky to have them.

Which brings me neatly to my next point. There were grumbles from Derbyshire fans yesterday when Palladino and Groenewald were rested for the match against Warwickshire. "Its only eight overs" said some, while another suggested that "surely they could manage four overs" in the T20.

Well yes, they could. But that misses the point. With the physical demands of the one-day game, the need to dive around, hare around the field and go for everything places increasing strain on muscles and joints. I've seen plenty of dislocated shoulders and damaged limbs in the T20 especially and the same people criticising Karl Krikken for resting key men would be quick to castigate him if they were injured and ruled out of the matches that look set to be massive in the coming weeks.

Older fans will point out that Les Jackson, Cliff Gladwin and Harold Rhodes bowled a thousand overs a season and never missed matches. Great players as they were, however,  there was no expectation that they would do much in the field unless an occasional catch went their way or the ball needed thrown in from long leg or third man. Nor were runs expected from them. Nor did batsmen charge them or change stance, moves that require late adjustments in the action, causing further strain on the body of the bowler.

I don't suggest one generation is better than the other, but simply present the facts of the matter.

If Palladino, Groenewald and Clare remain fit I am confident that we will be in the promotion shake-up in September. I mean no disrespect in saying that I would be less confident if two of them needed to be replaced by Evans and Higginbottom for key matches. Those two are talented young bowlers, but you cannot replace experience. For me, Krikk did exactly the right thing, even if, in so doing, there was an inference that the competition didn't matter.

To be fair, it doesn't - at least not this year. The Derbyshire squad is not big enough or experienced enough to battle on different fronts and having got off to a flyer in the Championship it is logical to maximise your chances in that competition and rest players - much the same as football teams do in the Carling Cup, or whatever it is called these days.

Yes, it must be frustrating for fans who turn up to watch the first eleven and see major players omitted, but that has to be accepted in a small club with a very young squad. Fringe players need opportunities when the time is right and Karl Krikken and his coaching staff deemed the time right on Sunday. Already without Martin Guptill, we were unlikely to beat a side that  is currently the best in the country and others got the chance of a runout.

We didn't win yesterday - and by all accounts were pretty poor - but today, when it mattered, three fit bowlers did what they do best.

For me, that beats competing yesterday, but probably losing eventually, every time.

Any thoughts?


Oliver said...

If Derbyshire are going to progress and grow stronger as a team, they will need to recruit new talent for next season, gaining more strength in depth, and finding a good overseas player to replace Guptill.

Their best chance of doing these things is to be in Division 1 next season. Whereas finishing 4th in the CB40 rather than 5th or 6th will make little difference to our recruitment prospects.

Winning creates confidence and momentum, so yes of course we should win CB40 games as often as we can. But I don't think it's wise to risk players one day before a crucial championship game, simply to increase our chances of winning a CB40 game from maybe 5% to 10%.

Peakfan said...

Totally agree Oliver - good to hear from you!

marc said...

I agree it is a difficult dilemma and in some respects Krikken is in a no win situation,not helped by the ramshackle nature of the fixture list. However,to blame it all on that would be missing some other relevant points.

Squad rotation is fine in principal,particularly with regard to seam bowlers. It,s hardly a new concept,but in order to do that you need the bowlers there in the first place. We are short of at least one,if not two seamers. Jones has not been replaced and in Footitt we have a player likely to spend at least as much time on the treatment table as on the pitch. All these factors were spoken about,on here,at the end of last season and still hold good.

There is of course the question of finance. We don,t have a Roman Abramovich at Derbyshire and obviously we have a limited budget and have to make ends meet. We all know the number of spectators at CC matches can often be accurately counted by the average five year old and therefore brings little revenue to any club. That,s not to say the competition shouldn,t exist,or indeed be taken seriously. It should,but so should the CB40 and T20.

The real money and indeed the interest of the vast majority of fans lies in the one day format. I still feel we abandoned the CB40,in all but theory,far too soon. The remaining home games in this competition will see significantly lower gates as people,s interest reflects that of the club. It,s money lost,whatever slant people wish to put on it. The other factors to counterbalance Krikken,s decision was the overwhelming evidence of significant rain through tomorrow and Friday,along with this being our last CC game for some considerable time. There may have been more sympathy were it not for the fact most of those that did play,performed so poorly.

You touch on a lack of experience Peakfan,which there is no substitute for. I think we all agree on that. This problem is likely to be a reccuring one,given the club,s stance on home grown players of a certain age band and ECB incentive payments.

Anyway,i think between us we,ve said all that needs saying and we move on. Yesterday was a pleasing effort. We did all we could reasonably be expected to do. Very good bowling has,theoretically,put us in a strong position. To maximise any chance of a positive result we have to declare early,even if it means surrendering a couple of batting points and get bowling again. The "norm" does not apply in this game,because of the weather. We must bat as if it were a one day game today. Good luck to all.

Anonymous said...

Most of the moans,fail to understand actually what happened on monday.Derby contained a flying Warwickshire side to around a run a ball. It was the batting which was well below par. Guptill's enforced absence left a responsibility on the normal first team batting line up to perform against a fine bowling attack. As we know they collapsed.
None of that implied Derby giving up the fixture, but simply that many of the same players who have done so well with the bat,had an off day. Derby's 4 day form has been built on consistent performance throughout the batting line up. Sadly the batting level dropped on the day from largely the same group of players.It happens,its the nature of sport and cricket in particular.Unfortunately,expectationlevels have been raised to unrealistic levels.