Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Muchall departure will see interest around the shires

As we approach the end of July, the conversations around cricket grounds always turn to who will be available from other counties. At this stage much of it is likely to be conjecture, but last night the first 'definite' news broke from Durham.

The news that Gordon Muchall, at 32, is 'unlikely' to be offered a new deal is in some ways no surprise. I wrote only last week that the club are far from affluent and they will need to find a way of affording to retain their big names like everyone else. Muchall is not a household name and nor is he one of their talented young guns.

Yet he averages just under fifty in division one this summer and is a composed, talented cricketer, capable of scoring runs on awkward tracks and with a good habit of doing so when they are most needed. His availability, should it be confirmed, would alert a few counties, us among them, I would have thought.

That he is the sort of player who would have been invaluable in the T20 this year is undeniable, but he will be far from alone. I could see interest - and not just from Derbyshire - in players at Yorkshire. They appear to have a bottomless pit of talent in that huge county, with five players in England under-19s. Not all of these players can play, even when they have a few away playing for the national side and I wonder if one or two might prefer regular cricket to a game here and there.

If we're talking experience, then a player like Rich Pyrah might be of interest. Another 32-year old, who is just enjoying his benefit year, does he really want more years as a peripheral figure in the squad and playing matches in the second team in front of one man and a dog? Will they opt for Andrew Gale or the young, all-round talent of Will Rhodes? Maybe these guys are white rose through and through, or maybe there are a few who would welcome a move to a county with ambition that isn't too far away. Let's face it, they would bring a winning mentality with them...

There is a school of thought that it would be more beneficial in bringing in a good, experienced pro like that, rather than spending top dollar on a really big international name. Much would depend on the common sense of the players themselves and the 'demands' of their agents. Every player has a value, but only a handful of sides - and not necessarily the ones that are the 'best fit'  - can afford silly money. I know one thing for sure - we won't be held to ransom and I am confident that the people at the helm of our club will recruit wisely ahead of a further improvement for 2016.

We will learn in due course who we are releasing and, as always, there will be tough decisions to be made. I will comment in due course and won't 'play God' with people's careers, but with a finite budget to play with, Graeme Welch and the off-field team will need to come up with some creative accountancy to help us to get to where we want to be.

Let's be honest, with John Sadler and Simon Guy on the coaching staff, anyone interested in a move from those parts should be known to us, but the contacts of our coaches will be wide and varied. I'm very much of the opinion that anyone we bring in will either be from overseas or up north, simply because southern players generally struggle to translate talent to regular exposure on northern wickets. To his great credit, Billy Godleman has got to grips with it this year, but it has taken him a year or two.

Anyway, more of that in the weeks and months ahead, for sure. Tomorrow our attention turns to the squad to play the Aussies and I will look at that one tomorrow night.

There's still a lot of cricket to play this year..maybe the 50-over game is where our strengths lie?


Roy of the Falcons said...

I agree that it is to early to speculate on who is going to be released but my fear is which of our young guns will be tempted to the bright lights of Trent Bridge. I like you are very excited about the young talent and have enjoyed watching their careers progress so far but fear we could take over the mantle of the Nottinghamshire Academy from Leicestershire. The management team have a very tricky balancing act to perform with the budget because they may need to add contract extensions for the youngsters to the need for a experience player and an overseas player.

daisypod said...

Aposite and to the point,i do like reading Peakfans scribe,even if a critique its written in a constructive fashion(unlike to many bloggers &
Contributiors alike). Yes i believe this squad can go forward next season.with the addition already stated by "P" of a muchell or an unsettled yorkshire youngster? ..footits in great shape and madsen is starting to find his form again,i agree re billy godleman. Some stirling gutsy performances this season. Young ben slater showed lots of pre season promise that fell away a bit,however i do believe he will make good, ditto some of the other youngsters in the squad,and now we face the "awseome aussies". I for one dint envy hamish & billy facing 100 mph
Johnson or starc.but itll be a great promotion of dccc facilities and im sure well give a good account of ourselves,

Andy T said...

This is really interesting, but of course to afford to bring new names in we are going to have to have a bit of a shake out from the existing squad. Just looking at the names playing against Worcs in the Second XI at the moment, I think it would be interesting to conjecture how many of them ought to be on the books next year. Some, yes, but some of the players there have been around for some time now and are not, so far as I can see, really going to make it....

Peakfan said...

Good comments from all. Roy, you are dead right, but one of the hopes of bringing players through an Academy system together is that they show a little loyalty if they can see potential in remaining and, crucially, they are being looked after in all ways possible.

We will always be outbid by our neighbours, who seem happy to throw money around like confetti, rather than encourage their own talent. However, the case of Greg Smith is a salutory lesson for young players - goes to Notts, can't get a game, is loaned back to Leics..
So too the case of Josh Cobb - batting very low at Northants, and Nathan Buck, who has barely been fit at Lancashire.

Then there's Ross Whiteley and Dan Redfern, neither of who have pulled up trees elsewhere, or even Tim Groenewald. Sometimes, despite the protestations of agents to the contrary, the grass really isn't greener on the other side of the fence and staying somewhere you are appreciated is actually worth its weight in gold...

You are right though Roy - they need to be recognised - and rewarded sensibly - as improving cricketers, as I am sure those who have delivered will be

marc said...

Agree totally regarding the grass being greener (or not as is more often the case). Groenewald has not done too badly at Somerset but I would be extremely surprised if Whiteley and Redfern were still county cricketers next season.

It is rather strange that people like Pyrah remain at their county to play a majority of second team cricket. Muchall could be a useful player for us. I don,t profess to know a great deal about him but his record seems decent enough. It may depend on his wage demands and contract length but i think he is worth considering.No doubt there will be other players released in due course and i,m sure Welch will have certain targets in mind.

The question of overseas players is also worth consideration. I would not be in favour of adopting a similar strategy to this season which has largely proved a failure. Better to settle for a second tier player who would be available for the whole season,or at worst,two players to share the duty.Also,the younger the better.

Anonymous said...

Marc - I agree with your comment about Dan Redfern, but would be amazed if Ross Whiteley falls out of the game next season. Admittedly, his 4-day form has been very poor, but in this year's T20 he has averaged 37 at a strike rate of 175. It appears as though even 'smaller' clubs now maintain squad players specifically for the one-day game, perhaps due to income generated from those fixtures? Steven Crook for Northants averaged 56 before tonight's T20 game but didn't play against us earlier in the week in the Championship game.


Peakfan said...

Agreed Craig, but he hasn't been a huge success at Worcester. Won a couple of T20s for them in his time there, but for what he will be paid, he should do...safe for now, but by no means an automatic choice..

jasper said...

Ross scored a ton against Yorkshire yesterday .. he seems to like playing against them!

Anonymous said...

Lancs fan here again. I'll just mention Steven Parry *again*, but noises from the club suggest he's maybe a little cooler on leaving than he was. Nevertheless, if the club has a shot at someone of his quality, I think it's well worth considering.

Of our other players, agree from comments above that Nathan Buck is probably kicking himself for moving as he's well down the list now at Lancs, and wouldn't be surprised if Lancs other close season signing, George Edwards, might be considering his options - Lancs are not short of young quicker bowling talent with Tom Bailey, Toby Lester, Saqib Mahmood, Gavin Griffiths and Cole Hayman all in the frame, and arguably even more riches in spin.

Luke Procter might be on his way out and he could certainly do a job (as long as you can stomach watching his action!) but by the sounds of it, he's looking at a career outside cricket. Shame, as he's a good competitor. As an outside bet I might also keep an eye on the availability of Luis Reece as the (welcome) renaissance of Karl Brown suggests he might struggle in the future as Haseeb Hameed gets closer to first team readiness. Luis can bowl a bit as well.

As to Muchall, local reports say he's unlikely to relocate as he has an autistic son and all his support networks are in the north east. Shame, as I agree he's a good cricketer with a lot to offer and if Durham release him it looks more likely he'll quit the first class game.

As to another comment, I agree Rich Pyrah, like Steven Parry, is too good for seconds cricket, but he's never shown the slightest inclination to leave Yorkshire. He'd be a good addition to any side who want a reliable seasoned campaigner with a good head on his shoulders - which is almost everyone!

Peakfan said...

Good and appreciated comments, Lancs fan.

Not sure we will chase many/any bowlers with the ones we have coming through, but good to know your thoughts on some who may be available. Parry is a possibility, but much will depend on the winter work of Tom Knight. Parry has barely played first-class cricket and we're not affluent enough to carry one-day players only on the staff. can he bowl out teams in four-day cricket?

Didn't know that about Muchall and that would be a loss to the game if he packed it in at 32. As for Pyrah, there would be a few like him, but this is his time, post-benefit and with a few years in the tank, to make a good name other than as an excellent bits n pieces man.

Don't see him doing a Byas though, do you?!