Saturday, 20 June 2015

Derbyshire v Surrey preview

So it's ta-ta Tillakaratne and hello to Hamish at Derbyshire, at least for the time being, as we entertain a Sangakkara and Pietersen-free Surrey side at the 3aaa County Ground tomorrow.

The absence of their box-office stars has seen the visitors engage the services of Dean Elgar, a good cricketer who is an enigma (see what I did there, classical buffs?), capable of big runs and periods of drought in equal measure.

Which effectively makes him no different to any other cricketer, as I pointed out below yesterday's piece. There is, when you think about it, a matter of millimeters between a player in form or out of it, between the middle of the bat and its edge. There isn't a player in the world hasn't gone through a period where they can't find the middle of that bat and it has happened to the very best throughout the game's history.

That being the case, what price the rest? One or two of our lads have been out of sorts in recent weeks, but it doesn't make them bad players. By definition, as I have written before, if you are engaged to play professional cricket, you are in the top one per cent of your sport and therefore an extremely good player. None of us, watching from the boundary edge, has any real idea of what is involved from a mental and physical perspective.

Perhaps our biggest issue this summer has been that our overseas players haven't performed since Martin Guptill  joined up with New Zealand. Dilshan and Amla have career averages around the 45-55 mark, yet for Derbyshire they averaged 25, something a young county player may aspire to, but not a world-ranked cricketer.

A young side needs the hired overseas hands to take the lead and ours sit eighth and ninth in the batting averages at the halfway point of the season. Everyone applauded the club's ambition when these cricketing luminaries were engaged. Yet the bottom line is that, whatever their impact on the dressing room, or what positive message it sends out to other names around the world about our club, they haven't delivered the thing we really needed.

I hope that Hamish Marshall does better and I wish him well, because the role of professional at any club, amateur or otherwise, carries responsibility and all are ultimately judged on their statistics. Their success can make life a lot easier for young team mates; their failures leave them with undue responsibility. If an international player can't get runs, why should there be an expectation of them from far less experienced youngsters?

Tomorrow's game sees Scott Elstone take a breather, while Mark Footitt should earn the accolades of the supporters in his last home appearance before the pre-Ashes boot camp. One of Derbyshire's seamers will drop out, the final choice for me being between Shiv Thakor and Tom Taylor

The squad:

Wayne Madsen (c), Tom Poynton (wk), Ben Slater, Billy Godleman, Chesney Hughes, Hamish Rutherford, Shiv Thakor, Wayne White, Tony Palladino, Tom Taylor, Mark Footitt

A win in this one sees us catapult back into the promotion places and remember there is a lot of cricket still to play. Our attack will miss Mark Footitt if he gets into the England side, but handling that is another aspect of our development as a club.

Surrey have players out, with Moises Henriques and Rory Burns missing after their horror collision at Arundel last week. They have taken Nottinghamshire seam bowler Luke Fletcher on loan and have Tim Linley back from a loan spell at Sussex. Their squad:

Gareth Batty (c), Gary Wilson (wk), Zafar Ansari, James Burke, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Dean Elgar, Luke Fletcher, Ben Foakes, Arun Harinath, Aneesh Kapil, Tim Linley, Dominic Sibley

I am going for a Derbyshire win here, with a keen attack hopefully getting an opportunity to bowl first on a typical County Ground first morning wicket. We need to bat better, the inconsistency undoubtedly proving a frustration for Graeme Welch, but at out best we have good players who can win games.

I will be along to see the second and third days of the game and look forward to catching up with friends old and new. I'd have made the first day too, but my son's birthday ensures that I tend to  domestic responsibilities first.

I hope to see you there after a strong first day.

And happy birthday tomorrow, son!


Mark said...

Family always comes first Peakfan no matter which sporting event crops up, nice one. I think we'll win this one as well, mainly due to Surrey missing several key players.

Peakfan said...

Agreed on that Mark. One hundred per cent!

Marc said...

If you were to hand pick a time to play Surrey it would be right now. The game offers a good chance to get ourselves back on the rails and keep ourselves in the hunt for second spot. I doubt very much we will have prepared a spinners pitch and with seam likely to dominate,Madsen will have to keep an eye on the over rate.

Welch must have thought long and hard in choosing Thakor ahead of Elstone,though a fully fit Taylor will surely come back into the starting XI. There are still question marks hanging over the batting which Rutherford,no matter how good he may turn out to be,cannot be expected to carry single handed. It would be equally satisfying if one or two of our own players can regain some lost form. Barring the odd shower or two the weather looks quite reasonable for the duration of the match and if we play well,there is no reason to think we can,t win it. There can be little in the way of excuses if we make a hash of this one.

Anonymous said...

' perhaps our biggest issue of the summer is that our overseas stars haven't performed ' . no that is not the main issue. The fact is we have lost key players, Wayne Madsen and Alex Hughes to injury and even more importantly too many of the remaining players have just not been good enough. Whilst Alex Hughes looks like a future Captain, several others must be in danger of not having their contracts renewed.


Mutn said...

A gentle day's cricket down at the County Ground , lackadaisical fielding at times , but a strong bowling display witnessed by not many more that watch a good night at the dogs.

I'm not teeing it up for a " going to the dogs?" quote, but this formatted style of play seems to suit far more than grasping the moment and thinking on your feet ! Anyone looking forward to the visit of Midland's cricket version of the Haarlem Globetrotters on Friday ? If players don't rise to that challenge then maybe they never will ! See it as an opportunity, and not something to be feared, and who knows!

Anonymous said...

Very good day. Hopefully we can cut there deficit down without losing too many wickets and get a decent lead.