Hark! What is that sound, this summer eve?
Why, 'tis the sound of Peakfan, applauding the team selection for the Yorkshire game..
It is bold, largely dictated by the injury situation, but offers hope for the future and encouragement to the many young players of genuine talent approaching and going through our Academy. It is also, for those players earning selection, perhaps for the first time, fully deserved.
Ben Slater, as I have written times many over this summer, needed a run at the top of the order while he has been in such sparkling form. He worked hard in the winter in Zimbabwe, acquitted himself well on the pre-season tour and has rarely failed since. Limited opportunities at number six are neither here nor there and for me he should be told that he has a lengthy run at the top of the order now, to take the pressure off.
If he fails? Well, he's hardly following illustrious footsteps this summer and will be working hard to better his predecessors. He's a battler and that will always do me from an opener, while the experience can only be of benefit ahead of next year in division two. I totally support the use of remaining matches to gather experience for young players and leave us better placed for the next few campaigns.
The same goes for Peter Burgoyne. He and Slater added 293 last week in the seconds, so they deserve to play. You have to incentivise good performance, especially when the senior team has had such a rough trot. I will gladly applaud an encouraging twenty or thirty-odd from these lads over coming days as perhaps the first instalment of payback for the years of development. Be in no doubt, both can play.
Burgoyne followed his 150 (with sixteen fours and five sixes) last week with 3-13 in 12 overs and two catches. It was the latest in a series of eye-catching performances and I predict big things for a lad who has plenty of time on his side - he isn't twenty until November.
It is good to see Tom Knight back in the mix too. I like the lad. His action is good, his attitude since his first team debut has been first rate and he works hard at his game. To some young players, the signing of a similar bowler such as David Wainwright last year could have been seen as a barrier to development and something to sulk about. Yet Knight has worked hard, kept the weight off that he lost after his premature debut, improved his fielding and worked on his batting. He keeps getting wickets too and that's never a bad habit.
Then there's a real wildcard in Greg Cork. His Dad played a bit and at 18 my guess is that he is in the squad for experience tomorrow. Yet like Dominic there is a spark about the left-arm seamer, who hits the ball hard and scores good runs. He has genuine potential too and the key, as with the other youngsters, is how we develop such obvious young talent into a rounded county professional of genuine ability.
If you're not already, be aware that there are some other talented seam bowlers in the second team. Both Ben Cotton and John Marsden have the potential to become senior players at the club and both are earning good reviews with their ability with a new ball. I plan an article on the Seconds and the Academy in the near future which will highlight the excellent work going on there.
The squad tomorrow:
Hughes, Slater, Madsen, Durston, Redfern, Johnson, Burgoyne, Poynton, Clare, Cork, Groenewald, Footitt, Turner, Knight
Wes Durston has tweeted this evening that he is looking forward to playing tomorrow, which is good news. For what its worth, I would omit Redfern (on the basis of form), Cork (experience) and one of the seamers (balance) tomorrow and go in with two spinners. Youngsters, yes, but why not? Get them in there, get them bowling and feeding off one another and see what happens.
Yorkshire are at full strength, apart from their England contingent and will offer tough opposition as befits their position in the table. Their squad is: