Congratulations to Shivnarine Chanderpaul on reaching the remarkable landmark of 150 Test match appearances in tomorrow's second Test against India.
To some extent it has been overlooked, as the match also heralds the final appearance of the great Sachin Tendulkar, but it is a final opportunity to see two of the great batsmen in the same match. It would be a delight for the connoisseur to see a century for each of them, but Shiv's biggest issue in the West Indies side remains finding people who can stay in with him at the other end.
Comments still fly around to the effect that he should be batting higher, but the top order looks pretty strong on paper and its about time that some of them started to justify those much vaunted reputations and played Test matches in the requisite manner, rather than as an extended T20.
As we know better than most, Shiv will sell his wicket dearly at all times. He might go quickly, as any player might do before he is set, but you seldom see him go out and bat as if he can't be bothered. That comes over very well in an excellent article on Cricinfo, which is well worth a read.
And he'll be back at Derbyshire next summer...great stuff, eh?
Back at Derby, the players are in pre-season training, which as a statement of intent is one that would be hard to better. Gone are the days when players had to find winter employment to keep paying the bills - now they are able to spend the winter months improving their fitness and honing their skills. Rightly so, too. When April comes around once more, those players will be well prepared and some, hopefully most of them, will show the benefit of the hard work.
Finally tonight, it is good to see that the club is moving forward with the plans to improve the County Ground. They appear to be getting assistance from the local authority to seek funding packages, rather than direct funding from Derby City Council, but the precarious state of local government funding across the country doesn't make that the biggest surprise, at least as far as I'm concerned.
They are rightly keeping all options open, but I still see the development of the current headquarters as the likeliest option. I wonder if iPro fancy having naming rights on a cricket, as well as football ground in the city?
See you soon.