Friday, 12 September 2014

Cross goes as Harvey gets senior chance

Today's news that Gareth Cross had been released  by Derbyshire perhaps came as no surprise to many followers of the club.

He came in at short notice, after the double blow that robbed the club of two keepers of talent in a few weeks. While Richard Johnson was ultimately gone for good, we needed a stop-gap to cover behind the stumps while Tom Poynton recovered from the injuries sustained in that tragic, early season car crash.

Whatever the frustrations of his spell with us, there is no doubt that Cross was the best man available at the time. Yet he had thought his first-class career over and had little or no pre-season work to draw on when he was thrust back into senior cricket. At most levels below the county game, that wouldn't  have been an issue, but lack of pre-season preparation tells and Cross was no exception.

He kept wicket steadily, without being outstanding. While Derbyshire has an enviable history of seam bowling, we've done well with our wicket-keepers too and there were times when the standard dropped a little. Cross has been a good county player - you don't hold a place in a decent Lancashire side without being so - but he had a lot of catching up to do and it ultimately proved too big a job.

His batting suffered the most. There were some pugnacious one-day knocks, especially in the T20, but nothing suggested permanence at the crease and fans enjoyed it while it lasted, aware that it was likely to end too soon. It was often selfless, but sometimes suicidal.

His approach to batting was perhaps similar to that of James Pipe, although the latter both won and saved a good many matches in his time with us. Cross didn't and a batting average of just ten in the championship was nowhere close to good enough for a number seven, lower than that of Mark Footitt. His highest score of thirty came in his last game, but by then the writing was on the wall.

Harvey Hosein has been spoken about in junior cricket circles for a few years, keeping wicket for Matlock in the Derbyshire Premier League since he was just 13, but looking younger. Good judges told me then that he had an excellent pair of hands and an impressive temperament, happy to battle out for draws and to face the quickest of bowlers in doing so.

At 18, which he was last month, his talent is undeniable and his likely role, at least for now, as understudy to Tom Poynton, seems secure. Giving him experience in the closing games of the season makes great sense and, armed with a two-year professional contract, Hosein will let no one down and will push Poynton all the way next summer.

It is a pleasure to write about a locally-produced player of such potential and, while it would be silly to expect too much too soon, there is much to be excited about in a young man who keeps wicket tp a very high standard and has a lot of ability with a bat in his hands, as he showed with an unbeaten and unfazed fifty against the Indian touring side.

This summer has seen the introduction of a number of young cricketers who could form the backbone of a Derbyshire side for the next five to ten years. Traumatic and troubled as it has been at times, tough decisions have accelerated their involvement and progress.

We will reap the benefit in the summers ahead.

1 comment:

knack said...

The days of Bob Taylor are over ( a hero of mine). Can't bat don't keep. By all accounts the lad has an incredible pair of hands lets see if he can bat , it sounds like a lack of confidence won't hold him back.