Monday, 16 July 2012

Big week beckons...

Seven championship matches to go. Twenty-eight days cricket. Derbyshire are top of the table.

Irrespective of what happens in the game against Yorkshire, starting on Wednesday, at the end of it Derbyshire will still be top of the table. A draw wouldn't be the worst result in the world for us, just as a loss wouldn't be the end of it. A win? That would send Derbyshire forging ahead in the title race.

I'm going to write that again - a win would send Derbyshire forging ahead in the title race. Sounds good, doesn't it? I can't say I expected to be writing those words this summer, even as the optimist I am...

I would suggest that this is the biggest game between our two sides since the 1950s and the heyday of Jackson and Gladwin. At least if you discount the 1969 Gillette Cup Final, when the Derbyshire side who had done so well to get there was mysteriously abducted by aliens en route to Lords and replaced by clones who looked as if they had never played cricket...

Karl Krikken has some big calls to make before Wednesday, of course. Who opens the batting with Usman Khawaja and what form does his attack take?

To some extent both decisions are affected by what I understand is an injury to Ross Whiteley. The left-hander hasn't yet rediscovered his best batting form, while his bowling is not yet of the standard that would see him labelled a genuine all-rounder. Yet he gives the side balance that it otherwise lacks. Without him, Krikk has either to play an extra batsman or an extra bowler. For me, there is a choice of two teams on Wednesday:

Khawaja                           Khawaja
Lineker/Hughes                 Lineker
Madsen                            Madsen
Durston                            Durston
Redfern                            Redfern
Wainwright                       Hughes
Clare                                Wainwright
Johnson                            Clare
Groenewald                      Johnson
Palladino                           Groenewald
Turner                               Palladino

Both sides have their shortcomings. David Wainwright and Jonathan Clare are good batsmen, but I am not sure that they are six and seven at this stage. They may have to take those roles, however, if Krikken wants four seamers at Chesterfield. An option might be for Alex Hughes to take on the all-round mantle, but it is asking a lot of a young, inexperienced player to do that in a match of this importance. His day will come, but I'm less sure that it is now. Garry Park would be another option, though Park would be more of a batsman who bowls a few overs.

It would be asking a lot to go in with three seamers and Wainwright, with Durston as back up. It has done well so far as a plan, but a few overs (and wickets) from Whiteley have been an option to allow them a breather.

Similarly, who do you go with to partner Usman Khawaja? Chesney Hughes did well on Sunday, albeit against a limited attack, while Matt Lineker scored a century in the last Second XI fixture. Again, there are arguments for the inclusion and exclusion of both. Getting it right will go a long way to getting the right result.

I'll tell you my team tomorrow night. In between times, why not tell me what you would do?


Dave C said...


For me it's a straight choice between Turner and Wainwright. Would normally contemplating leaving out the impresive Wainwright out but would really prefer the security of a specialist batsman at 6. I do wonder how effective spin will be - and we do have Durston, Hughes and Redfern who are all decent part-time options.

Marc said...

I think we can rule out any chance of Whiteley playing(even if he is fit). I agree he gives the team a theoretical balance,but the fact he has been so hopelessly out of form,nullifies most reasons for his inclusion. If Hughes were to bat at 6 he is just as likely to bowl as many overs as Whiteley would probably do.

I realise this may be slightly controversial,but will the Chesterfield pitch take spin?. Unlikely,given the recent rain. If not there may be an argument for playing 6 specialist batsmen,four seamers and Johnson. That would obviously mean 12th man duties for Wainwright,with Durston and Hughes providing whatever spin was required. One could argue Wainwright,s case as a player capable of scoring some runs,but,like Whiteley,he hasn,t got too much in the way of stats to back up this claim.

I really do think Lineker deserves a couple more games,given we gave Borrington the first eight. He is on form,albeit at second team level,but form is a useful starting point. If he fails in his next few innings then we may have to look at the alternatives,but his career may well hinge on the next few weeks.

In conclusion Peakfan,I would go with your team on the right,or substitute Wainwright for Turner,with Clare taking the number 7 berth. Turner is no idiot with the bat and between the last four,there is potential for a few runs,just like last season.

Marc said...

The fact i seem to be echoing Dave C is pure coincidence. We must have blogged at exactly the same time!!.

Anonymous said...

Talking of injuries. Can we expect to see Mark Footitt return from injury anytime soon?

natwest 81

Dave C said...

Great minds think alike Marc!

Anonymous said...

I agree that we need 6 specialist batsman and can afford to do so as several also offer bowling options.
Leaving out Wainwright would be a big call and one I would be reluctant to mkae unless the pitch really is a green top. If Wainwright is included then we also have Durston as spin back up. Garry Park would then offer us a fourth seamer (albeit one from whom we could not expect that many overs) so might get the nod ahead of Chesney Hughes. Not so long ago Park scored 1,000 runs so I'm a bit mystified as to why he seems to be regarded strictly as a one day option these days.

Spireite Tim

Anonymous said...

As harsh as it would be, I think the best solution would be the second choice peakfan has offered, but, as harsh a call as it would be, I'd replace Lineker with Park, and open the batting with him. It's a job he did when he joined Derbyshire in 09 and Rogers had his visa problems, and in my view his bowling is no worse than that of Whiteley, and is certainly more accurate.

I do worry that it would leave the pace attack a bit samey, so I'd probably reward Turner's form with a place instead of Groenewald. He's a genuine wicket taker who has improved greatly over this season. And we saw how Footitt tore through the Northants top order at chesterfield last season

Anonymous said...

Park has gone tonight - rumour is financial worries - maybe not surprising especially as we had the chief exec letter recently

Anonymous said...