Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Future bright for Knight and White

I wasn't going to miss out on a potential headline like that now, was I?

The engagement of Tom Knight (pictured)
and Harry White on one-year deals is one of those that might slip under the radar on a busy news day, but be assured that both have the potential to be big players for Derbyshire.

Cynics will point to the fact that neither played much senior cricket last season and Knight, one of our bijou collection of spinners, barely turned his arm over in club or county cricket. Yet such comment belies the fact that people who know the game far better than any of us feel that he has what it takes to be a serious player. His destructive ability with a bat in his hands is well known to local cricket fans and if the coaching team have changed his bowling in a positive manner, he could be a very good all-round asset.

As I have written before, Tom was formerly a spin bowler with good control but with insufficient flight and turn to dismiss good batsmen on anything other than a helpful track. If I play devil's advocate for a moment, that might have been enough to make him a useful one-day cricketer, in a similar way to Stephen Parry is at Lancashire. The latter has played only nine one-day games in eight summers, yet is a key member of their one-day side.

Yet I don't think we have the resources at Derbyshire to employ single format players and it is in both the player's and our interests to take time to mould him into something more at a formative stage of his career. In doing so there is, of course, a danger that he could fail to recapture the bowling skills of his teenage years, but also the possibility that he could be transformed from a decent cricketer to one who is quite special. Given the dearth of English spin bowlers at present, I'd suggest it was a 'gamble' worth taking.

White is less far on in his development, but has height and his left-handed style as an advantage. Now Mark Footitt has gone, Harry and Greg Cork have an opportunity to battle for the 'variety' role in the county's seam attack. A change of angle is always an asset for an attack and both have an opportunity to work with one of the country's finest seam bowling coaches.

Good news in my book.

I look forward to seeing how they both progress.

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