Saturday, 25 June 2016

Questions being asked

There's a couple of questions being asked of me in your post comments and personal emails that I would like to take the opportunity to address on an otherwise quiet day.

The recurring one is why Tom Poynton hasn't yet been replaced by Harvey Hosein.

Tom is a lovely bloke, a very competent wicket-keeper and a batsman of talent, not always realised when he gets to the crease. He will play an occasional innings that hints of what he can do and that his batting skills are coming to the fore, then lapse into a run of mediocre scores. His glove work is generally sound, though a mistake or two has proved costly of late, according to reports.

The trouble is, Harvey Hosein has no real batting form to force his case. At 19, I don't think there's much between the two behind the stumps. I think Poynton, older and more confident at 26, keeps on top of the fielders better, Hosein has the greater potential with the bat. Yet Harvey has only played T20 cricket since the end of May, when he made 50 against Nottinghamshire, since when his scores have been 12 not, 1, 7 not, 10, 5 not, 0 and 25. The figures don't push his claim, even if the lot of a middle order bat in T20 is not a happy one at times.

I have seen both men keep well, and less so, but it is a high-profile role and, like goalkeepers in football, when a keeper makes a mistake it is usually critical. Harvey has time on his side and will, I think, be first choice for years once he establishes himself. He may well be good enough to bat five or six too, something that Tom won't, in my opinion.

Both are very good cricketers, they all are at this level, but their batting returns won't yet stop Derbyshire supporters looking around the circuit at other counties and the match-winning knocks their glove men produce and wishing. A more productive wicket-keeper with the bat wouldn't have changed much this summer from a results perspective, but come season end we have to look around and see if there is someone out there who could offer more, even if just as a stop gap until Harvey comes of age.

For what it is worth, I'd prefer us to play Tom in one-day cricket and Harvey in the championship. It is a compromise, but one that will help the youngster learn the concentration skills he needs for a top-level career. With respect, he won't do that playing T20 after T20 in the seconds and having to swing the bat when he does get a knock.

The other question is what I think of Hamish Rutherford and Neil Broom's efforts this year and have they been worthwhile signings so far.

The answer is no, they haven't. They seem lovely blokes and have good reputations, but the bottom line for any overseas cricketer is that you will be judged on your statistics and the number of matches you win for your side. A mid-twenties average is acceptable for a young lad making his way in the county game, but the expectations are much higher when you are brought from another country, provided with a car and accommodation and are well paid.

Both have shown what they can do in bursts, but to pluck two names at random, we could have played Tom Wood and Jon Tattersall in one and four-day cricket this year and they would have largely matched the return of the Kiwis. From the current staff, both Ben Slater and Scott Elstone may have averaged the same, or in Slater's case, likely better. None of them would be costing as much.

It's a tricky thing though. Amla, Dilshan, Rutherford - all good players with credentials, but disappointing returns. Where are you now, John Wright and Peter Kirsten. What we'd give for their like again.

I cannot fault the thought process of the signings, but in neither case have we yet had the evidence that the value is commensurate to the cost. You look at someone like Wayne Madsen, each year since he has been  'taking the place of a local lad' he has averaged 58, 34, 27, 37, 41, 39, 47 and this year 55. They are quality statistics, befitting a quality player and others must aspire to similar.

Good second halves of season required in both cases for me to be convinced.


Peter said...

I've followed and enjoyed your blog for a number of years Peakfan; on the whole I think you offer an extremely balanced and informed opinion on most topics which often generates sensible discussion points. However...I would like to point out that this post appears to (in part) not quite meet your own high blogging standards!
I think this post was in response to a number of questions you'd received regarding TP vs. Hosein. Hosein is rarely mentioned on your site and is perhaps being a little overlooked by the club too at the moment. At 19 he clearly demonstrates more potential with the bat than TP, he is already on a par (if not exceeding him) behind the stumps, and still has a lot of physical development to do. All the signs would indicate that there is a lot more to come from the youngster. TP however, is probably there or there abouts in terms of his peak, and certainly has a lot of experience that Hosein has not yet had the opportunity to benefit from. When I pick the bones out of your post, I think you agree with me (but for some reason can't quite bring yourself to say it!).
Poynton, by all accounts, is "a lovely bloke", but by implication you're kind of suggesting that Hosein isn't....yet I've heard no reports to the contrary. Either way, TP appears to be your personal favourite and I think that highlights Hosein's main problem at Derbyshire....Poynton's also well-liked high up the food chain there, and it makes one wonder whether Hosein will ever get the opportunities and development that he requires at the club to realise his potential.
Just my thoughts on it.... keep up the good work!

Peakfan said...

Thanks for the kind comments Peter. You are reading between the lines too much on this one, though.

I don't know Harvey as well as Tom, but on the occasions I have met him he has come across as a very pleasant, well-mannered young lad. So is Tom Poynton, so there's no difference there, except in age.

As a regular reader, you will recall I said pre-season that this was an important year for Tom, the last of his current deal. I said at the time that he needed to produce the goods with bat and gloves to earn another contract and cannot claim, whatever happens, that he has lacked opportunity.

Is his work worthy of another deal? That's a decision for those who see him day in, day out. More to the point, those who are aware of who is out there who may be a better option, if Harvey isn't yet deemed to be ready.

His time will come, I am sure of it, if he keeps working hard!

To answer your question - my favourite is the one who produces the goods for the club! I think, like you, that Hosein has the potential to go further, but he's having a 'static' year that many young players have as they find their way in the county game.