Monday, 12 August 2013

Fickle fans and the future

Forgive the alliterative nature of the header, which came to me this afternoon while following online the action in the sensational final day's play in the fourth Test at The Riverside.

I've been critical at times of some of the Derbyshire support and the comments made in the aftermath of defeats, yet some of the stuff being spouted by people as Australia's score inched towards the target set by England today was extraordinary.

I always said Cook wasn't a captain. Broad doesn't look a Test bowler. Swann isn't the player he was. They're not as good a side as they've been made out to be. These and more hit the internet from people who, one assumes, have a modicum of knowledge about the game. How silly to make such statements about outstanding cricketers in the best England team in many years. How silly did these people look later in the day when the expected happened - Australia collapsed like a pack of cards.

Don't get me wrong. I think Cook a decent, rather than fine captain and as I've said before, the captaincy 'gig' is a lot easier when you have the bowlers that he has at his disposal. A top captain makes things happen and will try something different - he's proactive rather than reactive. Someone like Eddie Barlow would have tried Joe Root or Kevin Pietersen today to change it around. Mind you, Eddie would have bowled himself and the job would have been sorted in jig time...

The Aussies were never going to make those runs and there were enough lucky moments, even when Rogers and Warner were going well, to reassure me that all would turn out well. I said so to work mates and so it transpired. The major problem they have is that they have little collective experience of English tracks that move around and it was no surprise that Chris Rogers has looked as good as they have, as his long experience of our conditions has served him well.

Usman Khawaja is a good player but looks short of this level, while Steve Smith is an improving player who really needs to complete his cricket education with a season here, foregoing the IPL where he earns good money but picks up bad habits. When the Aussies ruled cricket, people like Langer, Hayden, the Waugh brothers, Martyn, Hussey et al  had solid county experience behind them. They don't have that now and, realistically, won't get it again in a hurry. Why would Smith forsake £100K for six weeks in the IPL for much less in the county game and over a longer period?

Anyway, back to the county circuit and we're at Old Trafford tomorrow. Yesterday was kind of strange, as we batted really well, but realistically you should be able to defend 290 in 40 overs. There's been criticism of Mark Footitt in different places, but we all know what you get with Mark. On his day he can be dynamite and rip through teams, but when its not he's hittable, as line and length go out the window. At 28 I don't know if that will change, so you have to take the rough with the smooth, as you do with Mark Turner.

'We shouldn't play them' is the cry from some, but they are at least fit. Palladino and Clare aren't, while Higginbottom would be a one-day gamble as his propensity to the bad ball an over is known. Ali Evans could have been worth a try, but there's nowt else there. It makes you value all the more the efforts of Tim Groenewald, who has stepped up to the plate once again and been the Mr Consistent of the side, both in performance and appearance. He is, quite simply, an excellent professional.

I expect another defeat at Old Trafford, unless it's a raging bunsen of a track, but I'll settle for encouraging performance. The recent efforts of Paul Borrington and Ben Slater have made me think carefully about our winter recruitment needs and I'm of the opinion that at least one of these lads could become established next summer. It's nice to read others acknowledging what I have said for some time about Borrington's technique and now he is developing the strength to hit the ropes,  he is an improved player. Slater is another slight player who will get better in the next few years, if Krikk offers him a permanent deal.

Some might like to see another seamer come in, but we need to be careful and not block the progress of young talent. I don't know how close the likes of Cotton, Taylor, Cork and Marsden are to senior cricket, but at 18, 19, 20 they must be close. I'd hate for their development to be stymied by the signing of a bowler from elsewhere though, such as happened with Tom Knight.

I totally understand why we signed David Wainwright and fully acknowledge the role he played in our success last summer. I understand why we signed him too, with Knight away at the time with England Under 19s. Yet Tom has barely featured for two summers and I feel for the lad. He's seen Peter Burgoyne leapfrog him and despite thirteen wickets at 15 and a batting average of 37 this summer (something he has really worked at) he's had barely a sniff of senior action.

For next season I'd like to see us offer opportunity and encouragement to young talent and sign an experienced batsman and an all-rounder. I know no more than you the available players, nor our budget at this stage, but I will tell you a player I would like to see at Derbyshire.

Wayne White.

If I was White, I'd be looking at this as a lost season. He's a very good cricketer who can take wickets and score good runs but has barely featured for Lancashire this summer. He has, to my knowledge, two years left on a contract and at 28 needs second team cricket like I need flower arranging classes. I'd love to see him seek a similar release to that pursued by Ross Whiteley, because I think he would be perfect for Derbyshire, batting six or seven. He averages 70 with the bat and 14 with the ball in Lancashire's second team this summer and is way too good to be wasting his talent at that level. The highlight of his summer has been his efforts for Swarkestone in the Derbyshire Premier League, where he has done as well as a player of his ability would be expected to do.

It would be great to welcome Wayne home to Derbyshire in the near future.

Next season would do me very nicely.


Anonymous said...

I'd welcome Wayne back but would he want to come and more importantly could we afford him?would we have to pay Lancs 2 years wages?


Peakfan said...

Dont know mate and to some extent hypothetical as he is under contract. I doubt we could match his Lancs salary but it comes down to ambition. Play in front of two men and a dog for more money or further your long term career and play big matches. White played no T20 this summer whch is a waste of talent. Period.

Anonymous said...

Like yourself, Peakfan, I have long been a Borrington supporter. I hope this one day cricket will show him how he'll score his runs, manipulating the ball around the field.

Agree re: Footitt too, at 28 is he going to adapt and iron out the scattergun side of his play? For me, I'd be letting him and Turner go - they aren't 1st division standard to my mind.

Cheshire Chris

Gary said...

Re: Footit and Turner. My opinion is that you do need at times a bowler who can get up to the 85+ mph range as there will be days when the pitch is flat and you need the extra pace to try and get a wicket. You can't pack a team with medium pace trundlers day in and day out (with respect to our other bowlers) and expect that to come of every day.
The issue is if these bowlers are having an off day then to recognise this early and feel obliged to give them their full allocation.
Footit has bowled well in the championship lately (at Durham and Sussex)and think can be an asset to the team as long as he can go decent periods of time without injury

Peakfan said...

Good comments folks - Gary, think you missed out 'not' before 'feel obliged'? If that's the case, I agree, as long as we have bowling alternatives to allow it, of course.
And yes, in the championship he has, after Groeners, been our best seamer, while his improved fitness has been testament to a lot of hard work

Tim, Chesterfield said...

Footitt and Turner aren't First Division quality but it's unlikely we'll be there in 2014.

notoveryet said...

Some hurried thoughts on recent events and comments above. I won’t explain my thinking but happy to do so if challenged or questioned.

Turner and Footit – set aside discussions about their value in championship but neither are 1 day bowlers. Remind me of a match when either took enough wickets to affect the result and offset the runs they always concede. Move on and look at other options, however limited. Better one bad ball an over from Higginbottom than three from either of them.

Is Clare injured? I haven’t read anything about this elsewhere, and suspect a Whiteley style exit is in prospect. If he is injured, let’s have a clear statement otherwise we have to draw our own conclusions.

Middle order collapses continue, regardless of who is playing there. As soon as the third wicket goes, the collapse begins. Time to ask the coaches about thinking and tactics rather than the ability or form of the individuals.

Redfern – good bowling in the T20, signs of a return to form in the last one, but he isn’t picked for the YB40. Injury or muddled selection?

What are we trying to find out about Borrington? He is never going to be a top one day player, so there doesn’t seem to be a lot of point in playing him in this role unless we are testing out how the confidence gained from it translates to 4 day cricket.

Arguably, the biggest disappointment of the season is Chanderpaul. Everything about his record suggests that he should have done better, and at his age, a poor season suggests that the light is fading and will dim rapidly from now on. Should we call time now – particularly as Khawaja is likely to be available full-time from now on given his Ashes performance?

Final thought prompted by the suggestion of Wayne White’s return and Chris Rogers’ qualities. I don’t know the full story of his decision to leave Derbyshire, but how mad were we to let Chris Rogers go if we had a choice? We haven’t had a stable opening partnership since he left.

Peakfan said...

Some interesting comments and opinions there notoveryet. I will answer what I can:

Opinion is and will continue to be divided on Footitt and Turner. Unless you are very top drawer, with pace comes a wildness in direction. Worth including? Krikken thinks they are better than other options, but I appreciate others don't.

I understand your comment on Clare and agree there's been no clear info from the club. Yet he was only bowling half pace when I have seen him and not full spells, even in T20, so that suggests injury of some kind.

Middle order - yes, we are short of experience there. Thats Chesney's preferred area, so maybe we find another opener or hope Wes returns to form next year.

Redfern is injured - a side strain I understand.

Borrington? He's done better than most in YB40 but it makes it all the more strange that he's not had a chance in the 4-day.

Shiv? Yes, its not been a vintage summer and I think most fans expected more. Is it age, or is a full season on the circuit too much for him? He averages only a little more than Khawaja did, for considerably more money, I would assume.

Rogers? Middlesex approached him and offered him way more money than we could afford, plus a chance to play at the home of cricket. No blame can be attached to the club on that, simple economics dictated he left.

Peakfan said...

One more comment on Shiv - keep in mind the wickets at Derby - Bradman would have struggled on some of our tracks there! We needed and have had result tracks, but that has left batsmen with nowhere to go at times.