Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Midweek musings

The season isn't long finished but already the revolving doors at some counties are spinning apace.

David Balcombe has moved from Hampshire to Surrey; Hampshire have replaced him with overseas pairing Yasir Arafat and Jackson Bird, while Tymal Mills  - the man who would be Footitt - has left Essex, with Worcestershire his expected new home.

The latter will need to strengthen substantially to compete in the top tier of the county game. They looked an average team at best in the second half of the summer, having effectively climbed to the top of the table on the back of Saeed Ajmal's wickets. They are reputedly keen to re-engage him for next summer, but you can bet your bottom dollar that his action will be under intense scrutiny and it may be that the Pakistan cricket authorities are less keen for him to be closely monitored after remedial work.

Now comes news that Sunil Narine, perhaps the best one-day spinner in the world game, is under scrutiny, specifically around his quicker ball. Photographs on the web suggest that his arm is a long way from ramrod straight when he delivers this ball, although it would be premature to suggest a problem. Taken from some angles a number of great bowlers over the years have looked to have a suspicious  'kink' in their elbow at some point in the action, including undeniable greats such as Trueman, Lindwall and Larwood. Yet the hunt is on for bowlers whose action does not conform to accepted tolerance. It is, one would have to say, somewhat ironic, after years when certain bowlers have been allowed to play without question.

I think there's a few bowlers whose basic action is fair, but who get into problems when they try to bowl a quicker ball, or one with a little more spin imparted.  Hopefully Ajmal and Narine both get the all-clear eventually, as watching batsmen against top-class spin is one of the thrills of the great game.

On a local basis, today's news is that Kevin Dean is going to work as a 'scout' for Derbyshire, reporting back on the opposition, the wickets and potential signing targets.

He will undoubtedly fill the role well and it is further evidence of the professionalism of the new structure. On and off the field, there are few better organised clubs than ours and I remain confident that it will result in an excellent summer in 2015.

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