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:
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?