Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Neesham signing could be perfect match for Derbyshire

"We've signed a new New Zealander" I said to Mrs P, this morning.

"Is that not the third?" she replied, showing that she does actually listen when I go on about cricket. "Technically he should be the newest, new New Zealander."

I couldn't argue. The Falcons have gone against evolutionary process and evolved into Kiwis for the summer - and I couldn't be happier.

They bring a winning and aggressive mentality to the game, because it is the way they are brought up to play. Brendon McCullum's captaincy of the national side perhaps exemplified that best, but as cricketers they play  on the front foot, getting at the other team before they get at you. We know what Hamish Rutherford can do already, while Neil Broom's record and reputation suggests a man who will add much to our batting - and the entertainment value -  once he gets used to the wickets.

To them we can now add Jimmy Neesham.

There may be those to who the name is unfamiliar, though I have mentioned him before as a player to keep an eye on. He is only 25 and is not yet a fixture in the New Zealand national side, but that has been more down to bad luck than anything, as a stress fracture in his back curtailed his past year after a series of performances that suggested he is set to be a serious talent.

A Test average of 38 with the bat suggests the stylish and aggressive left-hander can handle a willow and this video of his Test debut century confirms it. With five first-class centuries and eight fifties his talent is patently clear. Yet Neesham is engaged as a T20 specialist and boasts a strike rate of just under 140 alongside a batting average of 28 - pretty good for a man generally going in at seven or eight.

Then there is his bowling. He has twelve Test wickets and over forty in T20, going only for a respectable eight-an-over in the process. Plus he fields brilliantly, which has helped to make him a pick for both the Delhi Daredevils and the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.

He fits perfectly into the 'blueprint' I suggested in my weekend piece, a young and talented cricketer with a reputation to build. In much the same way that Derbyshire proved an excellent finishing school for Martin Guptill, a successful summer could see Jimmy force a way back into their national side, as well as giving him crucial exposure to English wickets. 

I think it a very good signing. My understanding is that Neesham was in discussions with Lancashire and at least one other county about being their T20 specialist this summer, but opted for Derbyshire to play alongside his Otago team mates, Rutherford and Broom.

A trio of Kiwis...'triwis'  if you will, or as Chris Grant referred to them in a tweet today, 'The Kiwi Musketeers'.

The three of them could make a difference this year. The usual harbingers of doom will profess otherwise, but we have added two fine, combative Kiwis to the one who played with success at the end of last season, as well as an aggressive opening bowler in Andy Carter. There has to be excitement - surely - at a notional eleven that lines up something like:

Hughes (C)
Hughes (A)

Seven bowlers, together with depth and versatility in a batting line up that could be reconfigured in several ways. There could also be a case for Tom Knight, if his winter bowling work has gone well, as another youngster of exciting all-round talent. We are in a tough group, but a young, athletic and exciting side should compete and give us something to be proud of in the manner of their performances. Teams will be wary of that firepower and if we can combine last year's quality of bowling with an improved batting effort, group qualification is a possibility, for sure.

Welcome to Derbyshire Jimmy Neesham. We look forward to enjoying your considerable skills in the coming months.

Here he is in IPL action, with a shot I look forward to seeing repeated in the coming months - very much within range of the new Media Centre, I would think...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's a good signing and fits the blueprint from which we've had most success over recent seasons (eg guptill, Khawaja, Rutherford). I much prefer the approach of having one overseas player for each slot rather than a rotating cast of superstars. I think we will see far more production from our overseas players this season than last.
But I still think we will struggle in 20/20 for a number of reasons: 1) we are in a very tough group. 2) aside from the kiwis and wes durston we have few, if any, proven players in this format. 3) for a club of our size and resources it is virtually impossible to challenge across all formats. Our talents seem far more suited to the county championship and 50 over cricket than 20/20 so I expect the latter will be the tournament we don't perform as well in. 4) we have an appalling track record in this competetition.
I'd be delighted to be proved wrong; we shall see. In any event, aside from the financial benefits, I regard the championship and 50 over cricket as more important anyway. I suspect most members and longstanding fans would say the same.

Spireite Tim