Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Midweek musings

One could almost, pardon the pun, be bowled over by the air of optimism emanating from the County Ground right now.

And why not? We have an excellent - one might use the term 'dream' - coaching staff, a strong squad and the encouragement of a strong showing on pre-season tour. Indeed, Graeme Welch said as much in today's Derby Telegraph.

"The beauty of it for me is that most of the squad could play first-team cricket. Everybody contributed on tour at some stage.
"The squad looks strong. It's a blank sheet of paper. Whoever performs will play, it's as simple as that.
"Even the lads who don't get selected will go to the second team where we expect them to dominate. When they are playing club cricket we expect them to dominate."

They are confident, bold, honest assertions and have no doubt been drilled into the players over recent weeks. They also echo my own words the other night, when I said I felt we have a strong squad. It is and I expect it to get stronger over the next two to three seasons.

That's why I can't agree with Sam, commenting on my recent post, who suggested a move for Bilal Shafayat, currently out of contract. The former England under-19 star, now 29, has played with Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Hampshire, without ever quite convincing me that he was as good as he looked in his teenage years.

As Sam says, he looked good against us when we clinched the division two title, but I am far from convinced that we need him, nor anyone else at this stage, short of a replacement for Shiv when he plays for the West Indies, and a T20 specialist if we can find/afford one.

If you notionally took a top six of Moore, Hughes, Madsen, Chanderpaul, Durston and Elstone, you would still have Godleman, Borrington, Slater and Alex Hughes in reserve, as well as Richard Johnson. For me that's more than enough and I'd sooner get the ECB appearance money for a home-reared lad than get none for a player who is not, in my humble opinion, substantially better for the team.

As long as we can secure the services of a top quality replacement for Chanderpaul, I fancy us for a strong summer. With neither South Africa nor Australia involved in any cricket post-IPL, there should be any number of options out there, some more affordable than others, of course, others wanting a county stint like a hole in their head. I'd prefer an experienced man, rather than a young tyro, one who knows his game and can use that to our advantage. I'd also like to see a batsman, our greater need, and if he could bowl a few overs, it would be no bad thing.

Finally today, a word of thanks for the club's excellent and massively improved communications over the winter months. While the use of old templates still tends to wipe out the end of new messages on occasions and can be irksome, the frequency of communications is commendable and especially so in the Twitter feed from Dubai.

In the nearly six years of doing this blog I haven't known a feeling of such positivity in and around the club, nor felt so secure in our current state and future prospects.

It is a joy to write about.

1 comment:

Marc said...

I tend to agree with your sentiments,Peakfan. Shafayat is not a bad player by any means and up until very recently a player who i,m sure we would have been interested in. To my way of thinking we have to stand by those we have now and wait and see what transpires.

Some are out of contract this season and whilst it may be close to certain that some may not survive beyond it, I would rather they had a chance to prove a point rather than an outsider.

I think we are reasonably well off for batsmen (including Godleman),at least numerically and with Clare seemingly fit again,our bowling options are better than last season.

Within the perameters of what we wish to achieve this season,it is also one which our supremo will use to evaluate the whole squad and draw his own conclusions as to what we may or may not require from then on. I may be wrong but I would think it relatively unlikely we will see Chanderpaul in 2015,thereby opening a batting space. There are all sorts of iffs and buts which will become clearer as the season unfolds.

I also agree the level of communication from the club is vastly improved,a trend which I hope continues regardless of results.