Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Interesting news and topical comment

Randomly browsing the internet last night, as is my wont, I came across an interesting piece by Mark Eklid in the Derby Telegraph. Apparently Graeme Welch is looking for a 'death' bowler for the T20, something about which we are in strong agreement.

Look back to last year's competition and we racked up some impressive scores, but we lacked a bowler of experience and 'nous' to close up one end for us. A Charl Langeveldt if you will, who showed the savvy of his many years in the first-class game by canny bowling at a time when the batsmen were trying to hit him into a neighbouring county. They rarely managed it, as he hit a length with remarkable accuracy, whether that length was short, in the block hole or a wider yorker. He was as good an exponent of the art - which it is - as anyone I have seen. No wonder he has been recruited to South Africa's bowling coach ranks.

I wrote recently of watching the Australian Big Bash and while the batting for me lacked something during the tournament, what did impress me was some of the bowling. Last Sunday I watched one of the most remarkable final overs I can recall, as Clint McKay bowled a maiden. Not only that, but the poor batsman didn't connect with a single ball, utterly bamboozled by a clever bowler who appeared to have more variants of a slow ball than most of us ever knew existed. It was very smart bowling by an experienced and clever pro.

Likewise Brad Hogg remains a joy to watch, not just for his skill in bowling left arm chinamen and wrong 'uns, but for his sheer, unadulterated joy of playing cricket. One gets the impression that every day on the field is something that he celebrates as if it is his last, which at 43 I guess it could be. Hogg gives hope to aging cricketers everywhere and his introduction to the attack always brings a 'buzz' to the crowd who are rarely let down. If only all cricketers played with a smile on their face! I know it's a job and it can be tough at times, but for no other reason than he seems to love what he does, Hogg is one of my favourite cricketers.

It would be great if we could get such a bowler and I am sure that Graeme Welch has plenty of options. There were several very talented Aussies in the Big Bash, while there may be others, certainly in South Africa, who could equally do a steady job.

Speaking of bowlers and I was surprised to see David Wainwright selected for the spinning role in the club's fantasy side of the 21st century. Of course he is a good player, but so was Ant Botha and for me there was little between them.

Yet both were lesser bowlers than Robin Peterson, who showed himself a very good one in all forms of the game in his season at the club. Let's face it, he has played international cricket with some success too, so it was a surprise to see him overlooked, even before the merits of each as a batsman are considered. Maybe there was a little ill-feeling at his being perceived to use us as a stepping stone back to international cricket and relinquishing his Kolpak status as quickly as he accepted it. Mind you, he was neither the first and won't be the last to do that, so it shouldn't have affected things.

Still, we all have opinions, so here's my call on the seamers - keeping in mind we are choosing them for first-class cricket. There is some good competition in this category, but I'll go with Langeveldt, Welch and Footitt.

Why? Because they cover all the bases. Combine the respective abilities of the three and you have the perfect bowler. Line, length, movement, pace, common sense and something for any wicket you come up against.

I'd have loved to include the others, especially Kevin Dean, but this is tough company and tough decisions need to be made...

More from me soon.