I really hope that the people of Derbyshire - especially the local Indian community - gets behind this game over the next few days.
The amount of work that has gone on, led by the injured Tom Poynton among the community, deserves to get an excellent response and in all honesty, who wouldn't want to take advantage of a rare opportunity to see some of the world's greatest players in the flesh? I'd have loved to see the giants of the east against some of Derbyshire's young guns, but work commitments have meant there is no chance of my getting away.
Nonetheless, I will be following the game closely over the next few days and hope that the Derbyshire side acquits itself well. After all, there are places to be had in the first team over the remainder of the summer and what better way is there to boost confidence than against one of the best teams in the world?
There's no news yet on the Indian side, but they will want to give their best batsmen and bowlers as much exposure to English wickets as they can before the Test series starts. Fine players as they are, few of them have major experience of English wickets, something that could be their undoing as the summer progresses. The bowlers will also need to bowl a different length to back home, but it would be silly to expect this to be beyond some fine bowlers. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is a very fine swing bowler, while Varun Aaron is a lively customer - certainly he appeared so in the IPL.
Much to look forward to then, although Derbyshire academy youngster George Sellers will no doubt enjoy the re-telling of his dismissal of Cheteshwar Pujara in the nets today, whatever else he accomplishes in a promising career. There's some good lads in that age group and it is in their continued development that our future prospects lie.
Graeme Welch has chosen a young squad for this game and the fourteen is as follows:
Paul Borrington, Ben Slater, Wayne Madsen, Billy Godleman, Chesney Hughes, Wes Durston, Alex Hughes, Harvey Hosein, David Wainwright, Ben Cotton, Mark Turner, Matt Higginbottom,
Greg Cork, Rahib Ali.
How many of the youngsters play is a moot point and I think the first seven pretty much picks itself. I suspect that Hosein and Ali are along for the invaluable experience, with the other man to drop out between Higginbottom, Cotton and Cork. I'd quite like to see the latter given another go sometime soon, as he's a better cricketer than his bowling figures suggested yesterday. While his bowling isn't especially quick just now, as commented on by a couple of contributors below yesterday's post, he has plenty of time to fill out and add more pace. We should not overlook the effect of nerves on any young player making a first-class debut and if you throw in television cameras and his Dad's reputation, there was a lot for Greg Cork to cope with yesterday. He'll be back, though.
Much like Derbyshire, really.
Postscript - there's an excellent piece on Tom Poynton over on Cricinfo. Well worth a read...