Friday, 17 October 2014

Something for the weekend

An interesting comment came from next year's Leicestershire overseas star, Clint McKay, today.

"The more Australians you get in the dressing room the better," said McKay, in the same piece in which the county were linked with a move for ex-Glamorgan Aussie Mark Cosgrove, potentially as captain. The latter went back home in an attempt to force his way into the national side, but realistically, that was always unlikely. A player whose impressive average was only exceeded by his waistline was always going to struggle to get into the international game, but he could doubtless do a job for them, though perhaps not in setting the standard in the 'beep' tests...

If nothing else, it would, should he impress, add to the relocation expenses paid by Nottinghamshire if they subsequently sign him on the back of positive performances. Sorry, but it is hard to be anything other than caustic, given their nigh-biennial raid on Grace Road. I can't say that I'd be a huge fan of any county turning to a league of nations approach for success, but I can understand the rationale to some extent.

They have brought on plenty of young players, but retained few of them. Why that should be is a question that only they can answer, as one would assume that nurturing young talent might inspire a collective loyalty. That, I'm sure, is something that Derbyshire will be hoping for from their current exciting crop of talent and perhaps the crux of the issue is how such young players are treated, on and off the field.

It is the same in any walk of life, of course. Look after people and they are more likely to stick around; failure to do so can often result in a fast turnover to the detriment of the organisation. My understanding is that the young players at Derbyshire are treated very well and are now being given opportunity. The latter has never been in short supply at our near neighbours, so maybe the greatest need is for someone to lead, to set an example, to create the type of team spirit that is so obvious at the 3AAA County Ground.

We went down the overseas route of course. Cricketers on a passport of convenience came through our doors fairly recently and many did fairly well. The likes of Chris Bassano, Ant Botha, Wavell Hinds and  Robin Peterson performed creditably, while others, such as Travis Friend, Michael Dighton and Stuart Law were less successful is sporadic appearances. It was always likely to be so, of course, as short-term engagements to fulfil a short-term need.

I wouldn't be averse to another Kolpak at some point, should the need arise and the right player become available. The club's blueprint allows for a 9-2 representation of English-qualified to overseas players, but the path we're now on is unquestionably the right one for our long-term aspirations.

For the sake of local rivalry and for the greater good of cricket, I hope that Leicestershire, a club with a proud history, come through these testing times. They have hit rock bottom and the only way is up.

But their next appointment, that of a cricket manager or supremo of undisclosed title, will perhaps be the crucial one.  I think that they are pretty much where we were five years ago, before Chris Grant came into the club and led the way on new levels of professionalism, on and off the pitch.

The right man with a vision can perhaps be the catalyst for an upturn in their fortunes.

I don't like to think of the alternative for them...

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