Saturday, 29 November 2014

Good question from Sam

There's a good question from Sam below yesterday's piece, asking what my line-up for the season's opening game might be.

Picking sides from a distance is tough. We don't know the full staff yet, nor the type of wicket it will be (though I will hazard a guess at green, so early in the summer). Much will depend on who shows good form pre-season or in the nets and only the coaching staff are privy to that.

The great thing about the staff now is that you have White, Clare, Thakor and Alex Hughes as seam bowling all rounders, Wes and Ches as spinning all rounders, as well as David Wainwright. If a deal was eventually done for Azeem Rafiq, he would be in the equation too. Perhaps most of all, Tom Knight's re-modelled action could see him a serious contender. The lad knows how to bat, that's for sure. We also need to identify an early season overseas player and his preferred batting position would affect things - hey, he might even bowl!

I'd doubt Clare would be fit for that stage after his surgery, but you could have a lengthy batting line up and cover the need for spin, if only as a change of pace, with a side similar to:

Godleman
Slater
Madsen
Overseas
Thakor
Hughes (A)
Durston
Poynton
White
Palladino
Footitt

You could mess around with the order a little to your heart's content, but I wouldn't see that as far away from the first choice side. Sam's right that White and Clare would be good calls for T20 as they both bat and bowl, but Graeme Welch has an embarrassment of riches in seam bowling especially. Tom Taylor and Ben Cotton are knocking on the door and it will ensure that those 'in possession' keep performing.

If Jon Clare regains full fitness, when the tracks start to offer more for the spinners, if we sign Rafiq - all of these will ensure there will be serious decisions to be made! To be fair, though, that's a lot better than the 'Hobson's choice' selections that we have had in the not so distant past.

As I say though - only the coaching staff can call this and I doubt they could at this stage.

PS And no, I haven't forgotten Harvey Hosein...who could, after his efforts last year? I still think he starts as number two behind Tom Poynton, but he will push him all the way.

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