Friday, 28 November 2014

White signs on one-year deal

After enjoying a successful loan spell at Derbyshire last summer, the return of Wayne White on a permanent deal, as announced today, is no surprise.

What may cause a few eyebrows to be raised is the duration of the deal. A few people may have expected a two-year offer, but I see considerable common sense in the agreement of one year.

Let's face it, Wayne is a good cricketer. He can bowl quickly, take wickets and hit a ball very hard. He is a better batsman and bowler than he showed in his two years at Lancashire and this offers him an opportunity to confirm that he is actually the player that Leicestershire enjoyed, in his time at Grace Road.

There is a gamble, of course. His batting looked like it needed work last year and for him to hold down a place in what looks like a competitive eleven next year, he will need to contribute runs down the order, as well as proving a reliable first-change bowler.

The other side of things is that for me he will be in direct competition with Jonathan Clare. If the latter recovers from his longstanding injury worries, he is a very similar player to White and the question is whether a first-choice side can accommodate both. With Clare in the last year of his deal, there is a major incentive for both players to stake a claim for that slot at seven or eight.

Of course, in saying this I am assuming that Mark Footitt will not be required by England. If he is, it opens up a role for both alongside the reliable Tony Palladino. We also need to factor in an expected improvement in the bowling of Shiv Thakor, who was attracted to us by the thought of working on that aspect of his game with Graeme Welch. As if that weren't enough, Ben Cotton, Tom Taylor, Greg Cork and Will Davis will be knocking at the door and there is going to be a lot of competition for the seam bowling roles.

I think White is a good cricketer, but his career has gone off track in the past two summers, which from a career perspective have largely been wasted. For different reasons, Jonathan Clare, a player once spoken of in England terms, has lost his way and we thus have two players of great talent at the crossroads, something akin to Robert Johnson, perhaps.

The onus is on both to make 2015 their best summer for some time. If they do, the likelihood is that with everyone else contributing we will have a memorable campaign.

Of course, from White's perspective, the season opener against Lancashire, announced today, really had to be scripted. It is an early opportunity to show his worth and to stamp his considerable ability on the county cricket landscape.

Don't bet against it - and if he pulls his game together, look forward to watching a very exciting player.


Sam said...

Overall a good signing, his signing helps add much needed depth to the seam attack to cover for injury and lions/England call ups, though I disagree with your thoughts on his position in the pecking order in the 4 day side. If the first game was tomorrow I'd pick both ben cotton and tom Taylor ahead of white, and I hope, their development isn't compromised. However I see him being a very useful addition to the t20 side and an automatic starter unless footitt can improve on last season's form in that competition.

I'd also be interested to know your composition of the 4 day side. If alex Hughes and/or thakor play, then you don't really need a keeper at 7 followed by 4 specialist seamers even on the greenest of pitches. Would you be picking wainwright or would you go with an extra batsman?

Keith B said...

Looking at the fixtures, I see that we actually have 6 days' cricket at Derby in August. Riches indeed!

Or is it, in the month when most people might be free to come and watch?


Peakfan said...

I agree Keith. The argument that no one goes to watch county cricket is self defeating when you get six days of cricket at home in high summer.
I also find the absence of Saturday cricket a blow but players need a break and the league cricket gives them a chance of a hit between times.