Monday, 28 July 2014

Monday musings

There's a convoluted nature to tonight's blog, written in the euphoric aftermath of a mighty fine weekend's cricket by the Derbyshire boys.

I still find it mildly amusing that my mail box and comments listing are much quieter after a win. Maybe it is that British mentality of being quicker to complain than to praise a job well done, but for those who got in touch to share the love after the weekend performances, I salute you.

But I digress. There are mixed messages tonight over the departure of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who returns to the Caribbean after the club's golf day tomorrow. The club's statement on his departure confirms that a return for 2015 is a possibility, as there was an option for a third year in the original contract. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that he could return, though it would be unrealistic, perhaps, to expect the runs to be so prolific past his fortieth birthday. Plenty of players in the past scored heavily up to the age of fifty, but it is less common these days  that players are even playing up to Shiv's age, let alone at Test level.

I wonder. The club are 'considering various options' for 2015 and they will probably need them. I've no intention of starting hares around the park with suggestions, as all the Test-playing nations have engagements during the English season. Much will depend on who is in and out of favour with national selectors, but with Australia and New Zealand touring this country next summer, a few favoured options may be naturally excluded, while the IPL will, as always, take many of the best out of the equation for the first couple of months.

Chanderpaul needs 540 runs to go past Brian Lara's all-time West Indian record of 11,953 in Test matches. With winter series to come against Bangladesh, India and South Africa, he could quite easily do that and set a new benchmark that is likely to stand for years - especially in the light of current West Indies batting strength.

Having done that, would he perhaps consider retirement from Test cricket and turn Kolpak? Much will depend on the finance, of course, but that brings me to my final point and to the piece I wrote last week on potential close season signings.

We have considerable resources available for new players in the winter, more than ever before. There is an avowed intention to bring 'match-winning' players to the County Ground and I came up with a list of potential names last week that could be in the frame.

But were they match-winners? Any player can be a match winner on their day -  I've won a few in my time, but don't think I am what the club is looking for right now. All of those I named were good players and all would strengthen our side, but none would perhaps be the kind to make the world of cricket sit up and take notice.

If anyone can convince such names that their career lies at Derbyshire it will be Chris Grant, together with Graeme Welch. A fully committed and highly respected chairman and a coach who, after early travails, is slowly turning the corner and will, in the summers ahead, enhance his fine reputation in charge of our club.

Yet the challenge is obvious and here's a question for you. How many players, at the peak of their powers, have signed for Derbyshire from other counties since 1970?  I can only come up with one  - Rikki Clarke - and you'd find few fans who would deem his short stay a successful one, even if his move to Warwickshire was subsequently of considerable mutual benefit.

If that unfortunate trend changes over the winter, we should all be thankful, because a lot of work will have gone into any move and the competition for the services of the best players will be strong. If things don't go our way, it won't be for the want of trying, but there's a very good plan B available.

And one of the all-time great batsmen playing another summer as a Kolpak would meet with the approval of most.


Anonymous said...

A thoughtful piece Peakfan. First off it is definitely noticeable that the astonishing win over Hampshire met with so little acclaim.Then again it has become clear that a vocal minority are happier when we struggle than when we achieve.Weird if you ask me, but they have their own motivations.

I think Chanderpaul is a fantastic and unique cricketer. He has done well for us despite the doubters and is a class act. Batting half of your matches at the CG will inevitably prove difficult for even the best and without pulling up trees is still a reliable performer.

With so much emphasis on improving our 20/20 performances I personally have doubts they will go for him as our main overseas player, but I would be thrilled to see him as a Kolpak as you have hinted.Then again, I don't his cost and what the relative options are. We entrust the Coach and Management to make these vital decisions.

I also toy with the inner debate about what is more enjoyable in doing the best with what we are developing and just buying in success.Turning full circle to have crushed Hampshire with Carberry, Maxwell et al with our own team was both exilerating and satisfying.Obviously Maxwell is a superb one day cricketer and on the money circuit, but I would rather support Wayne Madsen and Mark Footit doing their excellent best any day.


Tim, Chesterfield said...

I'd add Phillip DeFreitas to your list. We signed a current international player when he joined the club.

Anonymous said...

As with Brian above, I enjoyed this piece. I haven't been a regular poster during the start of the season as I was hugely discouraged by what was going on. However, I see hope and promise now and am looking forward to the coming seasons.

Shiv is a conundrum, to my mind, which seems an odd thing to say about a player with such a record. Like you say, at 40 years of age his best days are behind him and you'd hope we could bring in someone who would score more runs than him. But you can't replace his experience. If the Kolpak option came up then I think the club would have to sign him up. Just think, a top order of Guppy, Slater, Madsen, Chanderpaul and Wes (who seems to have regained his touch) wouldn't be too bad would it.

I feel that, bowling wise in the 4 day stuff, we're quite well stocked. However, I think Hannon-Dalby wouldn't be a bad acquisition at all, if we could tempt him.

Sadly, as much as I agree, I can't see Wayne of Mark getting Lions call ups - I'm not sure selectors know where Derby is. Put it another way, if Madsen didn't get a call up after last season and Robson, who I didn't rate that much when I saw him play at Derby last year, does, I think you can probably assume Wayne won't be getting a look in, a real shame.

Chris from Crewe.

Anonymous said...

Brian no one wants the team to stryggle, all the the supporters that I speak at games wants the team to do well and win. As for comments maybe the reason it is so low is that it is school holidays so some people have less time watch and contrinute. I myself have been is Glasgow for the last couple of days to watch the Commonwealth games before returning for the Worcester game tomorrow.

There's been great performance from the last 2 games however it could have been so much better gad we nor had the 2 point deduction from last year. An utter disgrceful decusion which hopefully won't cost us.


Anonymous said...

The two point deduction was for Durham batting badly against the partially spinning ball.The Sky commentary team nearly wet themselves that their favourites crumbled.

I watched the same pitch used for 100 overs on the following day by U19 internationals without any alarm whatsoever.

Scandalous decision I agree.