Sunday, 29 September 2013

Winter recruitment

The news, as revealed in the Daily Telegraph on Friday, that Dan Redfern has been given permission to talk to other counties confirms what a few people have suspected for a while.

For whatever reason, the club has decided that a parting of the ways is the best for the best and the player's lack of form in the season just finished suggested that he was neither at the peak of his form nor especially in the right frame of mind. Dismissals tended to be of a similar nature and indicative of a player who was not entirely 'there' from a mental attitude perspective.

As notoveryet points out below a previous post, ill-judged Twitter comments have done him few favours but will not be the reason behind the split and  one can only hope for cricket's sake that he gets his career back on track elsewhere. Last season he looked to be a player who had come to terms with his game, but this year, in a similar manner to Ross Whiteley, it has all gone pear-shaped, with form elusive. It has been frustrating to be only able to report on useful bowling spells, for a player who has so much natural talent as a batsman.

Natural talent will only get you so far in any sport though and I hope that Redfern finds an environment in which he can flourish. My guess is that he may end up with Ross Whiteley at Worcestershire, given that the pair share the same agent in the former county stalwart Phil Weston.We'll see. It is sad when the time and money invested in people comes to naught, but there is no point in keeping unhappy players and the club will go on.

His likely departure brings greater opportunities for others, which is the crux of today's piece.

I don't see us signing more than a couple of players, perhaps three, in the winter, as I don't think we need to. For me, it is crucial - and especially given the well-known limitations on the playing budget - that we encourage our own talent and afford them opportunity. At this stage, a first choice Derbyshire side next summer would look like this:

Borrington/Slater/Hughes (C)
Hughes (C)/Durston

There are a number of question marks. Will Chesney Hughes drop to his preferred middle order - hence appearing twice in the above list? Can Borrington or Slater, or both, become established county openers? Will the likes of Peter Burgoyne, Alex Hughes and Tom Knight step forward? Will Richard Johnson wrest the gloves from Tom Poynton, or emerge as a genuine middle order batsman?

I don't think we need any seamers, as we're unlikely to get better than we already have. If Jon Clare rediscovered form and fitness he would fill a position at number seven quite nicely. We don't yet know if Matt Higginbottom will be offered a deal, but with him and Mark Turner in reserve, plus the likes of Tommy Taylor, Ben Cotton, Greg Cork and Johnny Marsden coming through, we don't need to look elsewhere. These lads are coming to an age where we need to give them a try and know what they are capable of.

The same goes for spin. Wainwright, Knight, Burgoyne and Durston cover those bases pretty well and I'd hope that Chesney might be fit to bowl next year. I doubt we need to augment those resources, unless with someone who offers that as a second string to their bow.

So it is on batsmen where available resources should go. Next year is big for Paul Borrington, the final year of his contract and he needs to deliver and be given the opportunity to do so. I think he is further on in his development than Ben Slater but we need another player of experience who can open alongside one of them. The same goes for Alex Hughes and Peter Burgoyne - they have immense potential, but only time will tell if they are ready for day in, day out cricket at top level and we need an option if they need to be pulled from the firing line, or allow them more time to hone their techniques in a more forgiving environment.

A middle order batsman, or all-rounder then. The loss of Ross Whiteley affected the side's balance, but we have enough bits and pieces bowlers to give the main guys a rest. I'd be quite happy with that, if we can pick up the right players within the given budgetary constraints.

One thing to keep in mind. I don't think it will be too long before we see Shiv Chanderpaul announce his international retirement. He may go on for a little while, but I have a feeling that the politics of West Indian cricket - something that rears its head constantly in their game - will dictate that Brian Lara remains as their all-time top scorer before Shiv gets an opportunity to overtake him. He's around a thousand short at present, but Lara is a near-deity in the Caribbean, the Cavalier to Chanderpaul's Roundhead. I might be wrong, but watch this space...

If Shiv did retire from the international game, he could then play, should he wish, as a Kolpak, leaving scope for Derbyshire to recruit an overseas player. That would still, with Hughes and Madsen now England-qualified, leave them within the 9-2 scope of the club blueprint for fielding English-qualified players and maximising ECB money.

I can think of a popular New Zealand opener who would fit the bill very nicely, if we could go down that path...


Paul said...

I was totally unconcerned about the loss of Whiteley who I believe to be a barely adequate batsman and one of the worst seamers in our recent history. His averages of 147 and 3 for us this season are unfortunately the wrong way round! He has shown little improvement at Worcester.

However I find the potential loss of Redfern very disturbing and disappointing. The lad has proved he has ability but obviously needs serious help with the mental side of the game. Surely this is where Messrs Krikken Houghton etc come to the fore as managers and coaches. Apparently not! I can see Redfern going elsewhere and scoring a stack of runs.

BTW I hope your theory re Shiv and Guptill comes to fruition. That would be fantastic. What are New Zealand's whereabouts next summer?

Peakfan said...

Problem for next year Paul is that they tour the Caribbean in May/June and Gup may be in the IPL...

Dave C said...

Like a few others have already mentioned, despite the fact Shiv has a 2 year deal I just cannot see him returing for some reason next year. Guptill for me would also be the number one choice to return, although doubtless there would be several other counties interested if he became available again.

New signings? I'd love to see Will Smith and Wayne White here in 2014 - perhaps both would be 'gettable'? Another opener would also be nice, but with Guptill on board Borrington, Slater and Godleman would battle it out to partner him, with Borrington getting first crack of the whip.

I'd also like to see Tom Knight given first go as frontline spinner next season, from the bits I've seen he might have a bit more of that ability to 'get' batsmen out rather than just keeping things tight. Chesney and Durston should hopefully fare a touch better in D2 down the order.

As for the keeper - Johnson perhaps is a slightly stronger batter, Poynton a slightly stronger keeper. Only one should play though. I'd probably go with Johnson but there's not much between them really.

Based on all of those many huge assumptions this would be my team below!


Dave C said...

p.s. I'm also greatly disappointed in the the departure of Redfern. Something is surely amiss when a player of obvious talent with which much time and money has been invested is just allowed to walk away. I'm not aware of the twitter remarks but it seems worrying that 2 'home grown' players who were key in the title winning season are now gone in the space of a few months - if would be especially
galling to see a rejuvenated Whiteley and Redfern scoring big runs next summer...undoubtedly against us as well as sods law normally has it.

I hope this is not the tip of the iceberg of a wider dressing room issue.

Marc said...

I don,t pretend to know the reasons behind Redfern,s imminent departure,whether it,s a falling out with Krikken or something unrelated to cricket,who knows. We have to accept that in any organisation connected with sport there are always going to be casualties on the front line.

I have always felt Redfern to be a player of some talent but also one who often flattered to deceive. Last season was a improvement but even then he failed to fully remove lingering doubts that he really was the answer. Somehow he never really produced enough big innings and seemed to have an unfortunate knack of getting out when set.

I,m sure the coaching staff did everything possible to address his shortcomings but in the end it was to no avail. I,ve always held a suspicion he is prone to lapses in concentration,a problem almost impossible for any coach to cure. I also doubt his underlying problems will disappear simply by moving clubs. I wish the boy well but for me he will always be remembered as the "nearly man". I think the club are right to let him go.

Oliver said...

Well Madsen will certainly deserve his place in the side next year. I think he's now rocked up: Spirit of cricket award, a place in the BBC commentators "County Team of the Season", and now the Cricket Writers County Player of the Year. Has he got the DCCC Player of the Year yet? Because there can't be any doubt winning that one too. And of course first player to 1,000 runs. Quite an incredible season for him really.