A day off for me today, in lieu of working on Saturday, so a chance to catch up on some recent comments (and follow more closely the goings-on at the County Ground today...)
Tim from Chesterfield doubted that at 29 Wayne Madsen might not get an England Lions call. Maybe not, but there's plenty of recent examples of similar or older call ups. Nick Compton was the same age when he got his full England cap, while Michael Carberry is 33 and is in the recently announced T20 squad. Age isn't and shouldn't be a barrier to selection, as I've said many times that players develop at different paces.
In a similar vein, Marc asked why more players haven't stepped up in a similar way to Wayne Madsen. The simple answer is that they're not as good. That's being honest, rather than cruel, but again I've said a time or two that some players have gone out of their comfort zone this year and for a few the sad truth is that they might never be quite the requisite standard. Others have realised that they need to do more and are slowly but surely improving.
This, of course, means that winter recruitment will have to be canny and, in all likelihood, on a budget. For example, recent innings by Matt Lineker led me to suggest he was prematurely released. I still think he was, as ten innings is hardly enough in which to make an informed decision, especially when he'd already made the leap from league to second eleven in the same season. As you know yourselves, getting a promotion at work brings a challenge that takes some time to adjust to and you don't feel at home in that role for some time. It's not fair to expect sportsmen to do so and make immediate impacts, yet we do and it is an additional pressure.
I think Matt will get another opportunity and I think it more likely to be at Grace Road, although I am sure his form this summer will lead to some discussion behind the scenes. Yet with the progress being shown by the much younger Ben Slater, I think it unlikely we would 'gamble' - which is what it would be - on two unproven players next summer. With Paul Borrington still in the mix, having played some good one-day knocks this summer, we probably need an experienced batsman of proven quality if we are going to go down the route of another opener - assuming we have the money to do so.
We are now starting to see players names being mentioned in the end of season clear out mix though. Steffan Piolet has said that he is likely to be leaving Warwickshire and, perhaps as a precursor to a permanent deal, he has gone to Sussex, from whence he came, on loan. The imbalance in cricketing finances meanwhile reveals itself with the news that Warwickshire have served 28-day notice of a move for both Nick Compton AND Jos Butler. When one considers the strength of their batting now, it opens your eyes a little, though one or two players of talent may not fancy being in their second team for long periods.
Kent are also looking at a clear out, but I don't see wholesale changes at Derbyshire. Given most players are contracted already, the only decisions would appear to be new deals for Footitt and Evans and on whether Slater and Higginbottom should be offered permanent, as opposed to summer contracts.
So what's your thoughts on that, folks?