Thursday, 21 June 2012

Thoughts before heading off...

My annual holiday with the family always comes in the middle of the T20. That's not because I regard the chances of Derbyshire success as being marginally better than that of my winning the Miss World contest, but based on the price of flights.

We need more experience in this side before we can look forward to being a competitive outfit. Savvy bowlers of greater experience will work out all but the very best of young tyros and we need some of ours to get more matchplay experience in the pressure situations. Thinking back through my years of playing cricket, I found it fairly easy to stay in against even county standard and top club bowlers, but forcing runs was more difficult. It is much the same for our current crop of talent, the County Championship being a slightly easier source of accumulated runs than the limited overs stuff, where fields are set to stop them doing just that.

On what I have seen so far, our bowlers have got the T20 bowling worked out pretty well and we need only to give them a few more runs to play with. We have yet to see Tom Knight, who in another summer will surely play a greater part, while Turner and Groenewald have done well with the new ball. Jon Clare hasn't been seen, nor Tony Palladino, but I don't think our bowling is really an issue.

What we lack is a consistent fast scorer at the top of the innings. Perhaps "consistent" and "T20" aren't synonymous, as the format is not especially conducive to consistency, but for another summer we really need an established player at the top of the order. A Guptill, Hussey, Kallis, de Villiers, Sharma or Taylor would make a massive difference if any could be persuaded to play. They score their runs at good pace and in so doing take the pressure off younger players. Given that we came close to persuading Gayle to play this summer, perhaps it isn't unrealistic to lure someone of similar calibre to the County Ground for 2013, even though the calendar becomes ever more congested.

That isn't meant as criticism of Usman Khawaja, who is a very fine player, but he has little T20 experience and in my opinion should not have been expected, as overseas star, to carry the brunt of team batting expectation in the competition. He has, after all, only one half century in the format and an average of just 18, hardly the stats to suggest bringing someone from the other side of the world.

Khawaja comes with a point to prove to Australian selectors this summer, one I fully expect him to make in the County Championship, but I have said all along that he is not a T20 player. In that he is in good company, as the likes of Marcus North, Chris Rogers, Simon Katich and Phil Jaques aren't either. Experience has made some of these better than they once were, but none would be thought of as more than adequate players over the short form.

Conversely, I shared everyone's enthusiasm on the signing of Rana Naved, a proven performer in this type of cricket, but on what I have seen he has lost that crucial yard of pace that makes a difference. It happens to all bowlers, of course and most of you will recall the difference between the two years that Charl Langeveldt played at the county. In the first year he was probably the best bowler in the competition, with well-disguised variations and the ability to bowl that quicker ball when required. Next time around he couldn't do that and batsmen were able to milk him around more easily for runs.

Maybe Naved will prove me wrong in the remaining matches (though I won't flatter myself that he reads this blog...) but he doesn't appear to me to have the edge that he once had, even in this past winter's Big Bash. Mind you, time waits for none of us  - where I once came in off fifteen paces, I now make do quite happily with three...

I don't expect us to qualify from this group as it is one of the toughest, but I do expect to watch us from afar making teams work for wins. We did that last night and with another twenty runs could well have won. Maybe this winter's recruitment for the T20 will secure the services of the player, or players, who could do that.

For now, my friends, farewell. I'll be popping in from time to time, but please continue to post your comments.

I'll be resuming normal service around July 9, in all likelihood several pounds heavier...

Thanks for your continued support and I will see you soon!


Marc said...

Have a good holiday peakfan. Don,t worry about us. We,ll suffer the crap weather. Oh,to be warm and dry!.

Anonymous said...

I find many of the 'added' comments here and on the Falcon's Forum quite ludicrous.Judging cricketer's abilities based on the 20/20 format fails to understand the nature of the game.It is a game of risk and chance with success one day proving the undoing on another.
The other night Myburg looked awful for around two overs then ended up making a decent score. He could have gone at any time. Poynton made some incredible leg side takes but missed a chance with Gibbs going well.Do we write him off on the basis of one 20/20 incident. No thanks.
Last year's tournament winners haven't yet won a game. Doesn't that tell you something about the chance element or that one or two key players can dictate the outcomes. e.g Gayle or Malinga who are ideally suited to exploit the short format.
Much as 20/20 has offerred an impetus for a certain segment of cricket fans,it is essntially a totally different (an poorer) game to, even 50 over cricket, or the longer form of the game. If I were a current player,I would hate 20/20. It's a bits and pieces game for most players, not involving basic batting or bowling principles. Then we have arm chair fans suggesting,always with hindsight, they know better than the professional coaches. Our developing team has performed superbly in the best format of the game,where overall skills are best appreciated. Can we really expect,some of the same players to suddenly become top class in this 20/20 format given their inexperience.Please get things in perspective.

Marc said...

If we end up with Jones coming in,it will be a big step in the right direction. The seamers we have are all good bowlers. We just don,t have enough of them.

From what Karl Krikken has been saying it would appear we have softened our stance on exclusively home grown players. At least that,s the way I read it.

The concept of "home grown" is fine and I support it,but and it,s a big but,you can,t do it if there aren,t the players of sufficient quality coming through. To "force" players into the side is neither good for them nor the team.

As Krikken rightly says,you have to live in the here and now aswell as planning for the future. I still think we should have signed Chris Taylor. He would have been very useful this season and given us some vital experience. However,we must look ahead and not behind.

Krikken is no fool and like the rest of us i,m sure he realises the weaknesses only too well and will do his best to rectify them.

Perhaps it was expecting too much for us to compete on all fronts and like everyone i,m delighted with our Championship position. In saying that we MUST be more competetive in other formats and we need to address our weaknesses for next season. Most people have bought into the Grant vision and for now,at least, will give him the benefit of any doubt. The progress curve however,must continue in an upwards direction.

Marc said...

From my perspective I agree with much of what anon has said.

One point in particular is worth a second mention. The words "key players". This,for many people,is exactly where we are lacking. We don,t have any and as a result are losing matches we might otherwise be winning.

Whatever one,s opinion on T20,the fact is it,s here to stay and pulls in the people. For those reasons we have to embrace it and put a team together that will do justice. We do have inexperienced players and you can,t put an old head on young shoulders,but you still have to have the basics there to start with. There are some players in our squad who are not suited to limited overs cricket. That,s not a criticism in itself,merely a fact of life.

In Poynton,s case,I think the lad has done very well on the whole but the missed stumping of Gibbs was a significant turning point in the game. That is an undeniable fact. These things happen and you have to accept it. No one does it on purpose and i,m sure no one would suggest tearing up his contract over that particular incident.

As far as coaching is concerned,well,it,s a thorny subject for me.
The world is full of "professional" people but that doesn,t necessarily mean they are any good at their job. Coaching is fine,providing it is effective and doesn,t hinder natural talent. Too much theory is not always a good thing and who,s to say their theories are right.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Marc,
Yes 20/20 is currently seen as a big part of the revenue stream and we need to compete. I happen to think it will fade nationally in the next few years becuase of overkill,saturation and inherent lack of cricketing substance.
Given the limited budget,it is difficult for us to compete for the few available 'premier league'overseas players. Rana would have been thought of in this category,especially,if you listen to Sky's commentators, but has he now been sussed out and seen better days?
I happen to think that Ross and Dan are well suited to limited overs cricket. Both are very clean hitters when in, but sometimes it just doesn't come off. Batting at number six with half a dozen overs left at most is hardly a fair judgement of anyone's credentials.
Finally,it is worth saying,that to date, Richard Jones' record and recent good form indicates he is quick strike bowler useful with close catchers. His economy rate has always been poor and it doesn't point to a pedigree in the one day format.Derby obviously see potential.
As for coaches, you pays your money , you take your choice. Imho I can't think,given Derbyshire's budget and recent history that they could get a better combination than KK and DH. There is such a better feelgood factor around the club with much improved performances. A few defeats seems to have brought out the doom merchants once again. Had rain not intervened at Sussex we were in a very strong position against a noted one day outfit.
I am only trying to be realistic and supportive of the team who are definately moving in the right direction.

Marc said...

No doubt we are very much in a trasitional period and that will take time. I think one criticism is some people felt we didn,t take the CB40 seriously enough. At least that,s how people interpreted it,with regard to team selection and the resting of certain players. Whatever the reasoning behind it the wrong message was sent out and the club scored something of an own goal.

We all see things from a different angle and that,s what makes blogs such as this interesting. People put some good and valid points across and regardless of whether others agree it always makes for good banter.

Jones doesn,t have the best economy rate,but like you say,Krikken obviously feels there is potential there. I,m far from convinced he will leave Worcestershire but we,ll have to wait and see on that one. I,ve nothing against a bowler being a little expensive,providing it,s backed up by wickets. Turner has something to offer and has improved his accuracy this season,though there is still room for improvement. Given the fact we have extended Footit,s contract, maybe we should consider giving Turner another season aswell. When he bowls well he is as good as anyone. Just needs to cut out the wild stuff.

Anyway,if we play,let,s hope we can turn this T20 around and get a win or two under our belts.

Mark said...

oh well,the third defeat on the trot under different circumstances admittedly. Our batting is plain crap in this competition, nobody seems capable of hitting the ball and getting runs. No chance of qualification now, so let's just make sure of promotion in the championship.

Anonymous said...

After the latest defeat at Grace Road I have come to the conclusion that this must be our worst ever 20/20 batting side. Chesney and Clare must bat higher. Why is Khwaja batting in an 8 over slog?

creweblade said...

agreed - seems our batting in short form is pretty tosh but im not sure we think about the batting order much. some credit to Jon Clare tonight - tight bowling and a good not out thrash - anyway this challenge is done like the 40 over - we do need to have a rethink next year and sign some big hitters please. Enjoy tennessee peakfan - some jack daniels in order to drown (y)our sorrows

Anonymous said...

OMG, 8 overs and the wailing and analysis continues....yeah ok.;-)

Chris said...

'Anonymous' what do you expect after 3 straight defeats, happiness? 8 overs or 20 it has been poor. I haven't seen any ludicrous posts, just people annoyed.

Marc said...

Look at the stats. Had this been a CB40 game we were heading for THIRTY no balls. There is absolutely no excuse for this level of incompetence. If I were Krikken i would have made them walk home from Leicester.

I didn,t post last night because I would have said something I might have regretted. A good night,s sleep has done little to lighten my mood. I,m sorry anon but people are fully entitled to moan,especially after this showing. Yet again we contrive to lose a game we should have won easily. To dismiss it as "an 8 over thrash,Noddy cricket" or anything else is completely missing the point.

I can,t understand why Clare came in so low. We tried him as a pinch hitter pre season and i recall him scoring a rapid half century against Warwickshire in a CB40 match the other week.

Naved may aswell pack his bags and head back from whence he came. The sooner the better. His signing has failed spectacularly,though I attatch no blame to the club for bringing him in the first place.

We might just aswell play one of our young lads from now on. Whoever it is would be hard pressed to surpass Naved,s pathetic exploits.

It is so frustrating to keep throwing games away like confetti through nothing more than our own mind boggling level of stupidity.

Remember what happened to Northant,s last season. Top of the Championship followed by an awful one day campaign. Result,complete collapse of form and confidence. Losing is a nasty habit and often a very difficult one to break. There is no magic formula,neither is there an on/off button. A change of competition does not always equate to a change in fortune,as Northant,s will testify.

Anonymous said...

I think Krikk just has to learn who his best performers are in the T20 format and this may take some time. Those who we all thought would do well have disappointed so far. I for one would like a look at Alex Hughes who is in prime form with the bat, can swing the ball both ways and if a very good fielder.