There's a very good article by Mark Eklid in the Derby Telegraph today in which Graeme Welch states that he's 'almost there' with his squad for next summer.
That could, of course, mean anything, but the piece suggests a new deal for Billy Godleman is imminent. I suggested that should be the case recently and think it is the right thing to do. Billy is a much improved bat of late and has a string of good scores in all forms of the game. He looks confident at the crease and can score around the wicket. He and Ben Slater looked a good pairing in the Worcestershire game and I'd be quite happy with them for next summer.
It crossed my mind that we must be fairly close, when I started to work out a notional championship team for next summer. We still have to assume that Pujara and White will sign, but for me they'd take a place in this side:
Where do you fit in Wes Durston? Chesney? Tom Taylor? Scott Elstone? Ben Cotton? Jon Clare? Greg Cork? Most of the above have development to do or fitness to prove, but it is a squad of great potential, when you add in Harvey Hosein as back-up keeper and, presumably, a T20 specialist.
One player who won't be in the squad is Matt Higginbottom (pictured), who can deem himself unlucky to be nearly 24 at a time when a clutch of talented 19 and 20 year olds are coming through. Will Davis is another who will be pushing his claims another year, as, presumably, will Jony Marsden. From a situation where we had barely a seamer of note emerge for several years, a veritable convoy has suddenly emerged.
Higginbottom has a decent first-class record, with fourteen first-class wickets at 35, but while he had the ability to bowl a wicket-taking ball, there was a similar tendency to put down a four ball each over too. He could yet be one of those players who go elsewhere to prove a point and Leicestershire could do worse than offer him a trial, but the writing was on the wall for Matt and it is no real surprise to read of his release.
I wish him luck in his future career, as I am sure you all do.