Saturday, 19 July 2014

Signing targets - the game we love to play...

With over two months of the season still to go, the game that all sports fans love to play is alive and well.

Who are we going to sign? That Derbyshire have substantial resources available, according to a recent interview with the chairman, has sent message boards and my email account into overdrive.

I've seen lots of names suggested, some of them players whose best days are well behind them. I sincerely hope that the days of Derbyshire becoming one last pay day for the imminently retired are consigned to the past, so I see no merit in some of the names being suggested for county colours.

There's also a few being named who are under contract and therefore non-starters. Jim Allenby, a name mentioned by a few people, is under contract until 2017, Richard Pyrah at Yorkshire until 2015 and old boy Graham Wagg likewise. So too Wayne White and unless we are prepared to 'buy out' their contract (unlikely, I'd suggest) they are non-starters.Having said that, all are good players, worthy of consideration otherwise. Then there's Michael Carberry or Nick Compton as openers, but both are under contract for at least another two years.

There are others who are in the second elevens of fairly ordinary sides, something that speaks volumes for their worth in changing fortunes at Derbyshire. There is, to be fair, greater merit in signing a second team player from Yorkshire than from Leicestershire and there are a handful of decent players on the fringes of the county circuit who might possibly improve our side. The question to ask, in each case for me, is simple - will they simply help us to be more competitive, or will they genuinely make us a better side with aspirations of success?

I see no point in signing an average fringe player just because we can and nor do we want to block the paths of young bowlers with the signing of only moderate players from elsewhere. Having had a taste of first team action in recent weeks, it would appear counter-productive to see Tom Taylor, Greg Cork and Ben Cotton all back in regular second team duty next summer - at least unless we sign someone special.

I've seen comments to the effect that we will struggle to attract the right players, but much will depend on the attitude of those players and what they want from their careers. There is much to like in the future-planning at Derbyshire and unless there were counties out there prepared to offer silly money  - against which one can never legislate - we can probably match most of them this winter if the right player became available.

Like most of you, I am unaware of everyone who is out of contract this Autumn, but of those who are, there's a handful who I feel would benefit us:

Will Gidman - a very good county player and a classic late developer. Released by Durham aged 25, this summer he has nearly 700 runs at 57, as well as 38 wickets at 21. Coming to his peak as a player and a fine cricketer who Graeme Welch, a fellow Geordie, should know well.

Nathan Buck - with 39 wickets at 28, Buck carries the Leicestershire attack. So much so that he has had a few injuries, but he would be an asset to any side and, at 23, is only going to get better. Like Gidman, I suspect Welch could improve him still further. Doubtless there will be interest down at Trent Bridge too.

Josh Cobb - a mercurial player who has yet to translate his talent into weight of runs, Cobb still averages 35 in the championship this summer and is a very fine one-day player. I am concerned at a 'proper cricket' average of 25 but he would improve our one-day side considerably and has time on his side to improve. Fits the description of 'match-winner' very nicely.

Richard Jones - another seamer and no, I'm not advocating signing all of them! Jones is a fine talent but has had injury issues that now seem behind him, though he cannot force a way into Warwickshire's attack. Has been on loan at Leicestershire  and would be a good signing for a Derbyshire side that only has two senior seamers without question marks on their future.

Oliver Hannon-Dalby - in interviews has spoken  very highly of Graeme Welch and at 6' 8" the tall Yorkshire lad. like those named above, would improve the side. Crucially, he is another who, at 25, should only get better and needs first-class cricket.

Laurie Evans - the former Surrey man has done well at Edgbaston but has struggled a little this year. A mid-thirties career average highlights his ability but I have a feeling he may head back down south. Good in one and four-day cricket.

And one from left field...

Will Rhodes - young Yorkshire all-rounder of considerable potential who needs to be playing senior cricket sometime soon. At 19 he appears to be a fine talent, perhaps more advanced with the bat at this stage, but there is no obvious path into the Yorkshire side. I just wonder if the Yorkshire input to our coaching staff might have a role to play? A move would be cheeky, but why not?

I'm unaware of the overall contractual situation at Warwickshire, but Graeme Welch will know their players well. Likewise, we should have a good knowledge of available players in Yorkshire and I would be surprised if many of our winter targets were from the south of the country.

Well worth keeping an eye on - but then it will be a fascinating winter, as Graeme Welch gets a chance to mould his own team for the first time.

And as always, I'd welcome your thoughts.


Anonymous said...

Whilst it might provide a challenge for our catering dept, I wouldn't mind seeing Luke Fletcher arrive. I think his contract with Notts is up this year and the prospect of more 4 day cricket might tempt him down the road. He's a really tidy one-day bowler too.

I also wonder if the county will go down the route of splitting the limited over's captaincy from the club/four-day one in order to dangle a carrot for the right target. This is not a slight on Wayne Madsen who has been excellent in the T20 batting and I would only run with the idea if he was 100% behind it as the last thing we want to do is upset him.

I have heard Chris Grant and Simon Storey make reference to the relative inexperience of our skipper in recent interviews and wonder if that is going through their minds.

Might be way wide of the mark here.


Anonymous said...

Will Gidman looks like the star capture from your list Peakfan. However, do you think it is realistic we can compete with other counties for his signature? Unfortunately I would have thought a few of the Division 1 counties would be interested.


Peakfan said...

I think most counties will want Gidman, Gareth. There is a follow up piece to this and am just waiting for something that you and others might spot.
To answer your question - it will be tough. I'd love to see it, but...

Craig - Fletcher is a good bowler but if Notts pick up Buck, as I expect, he may be surplus to requirements and further back in the pecking order. Players don't often move between the clubs for obvious reasons, but why not?

Anonymous said...

Hi Peakfan,

What are your thoughts on Dan Housego? Has been injured this season, so limited opportunities, but seems to be on the outer at Gloucestershire. His centuries against international teams for both Middlesex and Gloucestershire over the past few seasons in touring games is impressive.


Peakfan said...

He's a decent player mate but isn't scoring many in their seconds. Is he much better than Godleman, Slater or Borrington? I'm not especially convinced and to be honest, tour match runs aren't always as impressive as they were a few years back.

Anonymous said...

Is the thing you are waiting for us to spot the overseas berth that is up for grabs? If so - Jayawardene for me! Seven years later than first billed but still a class act in all forms.


Peakfan said...

Not that Craig but a good call. Whether he is interested is a moot point and I think we need an aggressive overseas in the Guptill mode who seizes the initiative. Maybe someone younger than Mahela who is still playing one dayers and could be in the IPL till June.

Anonymous said...

Hannon-Dalby would interest me, as would Richard Jones if he was fit. Weren't we interested him a couple of years ago? Thing is though, with the emergence of Taylor (and Cork and Cotton making good progress) where would you play them?

I think our main issue is in the batting line up. Although I think Mahela is an outstanding call, I agree in that I think an overseas opener is a must really - I'd move heaven and earth (I'd pay him what we're paying Shiv) to sign a two-toed Kiwi that we all know and love, personally. Slater has, so far, taken his chance well and I think he deserves a good run, tell him he's in for the rest of this season and next and just back him (I'd do the same with Elstone too). As much as I like Bozza I can't see him getting a new deal, nor Godleman, and I wouldn't be bothered if Chesney went either. If we could get another decent bat in as well as the overseas then I think we've got a decent looking team for next year.

Overseas Opener- (Guptill?)
Durston or new signing
A Hughes

That's my two penneth worth.

Chris from Crewe

Peakfan said...

And a good tuppenceworth too mate. Good post!

Nigel said...

Will Rhodes from Yorkshire?! No chance whatsoever. Highly rated at Yorkshire.

Huw Lloyd said...

One move that I would love to see us make is for Stephen Davies from Surrey.

An outstanding keeper and batsman who can open the batting and can be explosive in the shorter form of the game.

Not currently keeping at Surrey, so cant believe he is happy with that. Would he come and could we afford him is the question?

ydoethur said...

'a fine cricketer who Graeme Welch, a fellow Geordie'

Will Gidman is from Buckinghamshire, educated at Wycliffe College, and rose through the Gloucestershire youth system before signing for Durham.

I can't see him leaving Gloucestershire to go to another second division club. If he goes, it will be because he wants to play international cricket and therefore Middlesex would be a more logical choice for him.

After all, when it comes to England selection better to do badly in a favoured side (Bairstow, Stokes and Morgan) than brilliantly in an unfashionable one, as Mark Footit, Nick Compton, James Hildreth, James Vince and even Moeen Ali (who faces persistent calls to be dropped for, er, taking wickets and scoring runs but not apparently often enough) are finding out.

Peakfan said...

It was the county who gave him a start I was referring to...

Anonymous said...

Davies has asked to be relieved of the gloves at Surrey to concentrate on being a 'proper' batsman (a bit of a short-sighted move with the England keeper position being up for grabs but there we go!!)

I did see Atif Sheikh has signed a deal at Leicestershire also. Not suggesting we should have re-signed him but will be interesting to see how he does.

Matt, Littleover.