Another day, another contract at Derbyshire, as Greg Cork signed a new one-year deal today, one that puts the onus on him squarely to work hard over the winter and next summer.
I always feel sorry for the sons of famous sports people, because they will always be compared, usually unfavourably, with their parents. It has been seen times many in cricket and Greg Cork, talented cricketer as he is, will always struggle to emerge from his father's shadow. Good a player as he was, Richard Hutton never emerged from that of Len, although in Derbyshire circles, Harold Rhodes managed to become an even better player than his father, which was quite an achievement.
The incentive to do so is clear. A left-arm bowler who can hit a ball hard and score runs would be a huge asset to Derbyshire and no one else on the current staff offers that. Greg now needs to score more runs and become more penetrative with the ball, things that would edge him ahead of the likes of Will Davis, Ben Cotton and Tom Taylor in his age group.
Next year will be a big one for him and he will know that there is a lot resting on the next twelve months. It is right that the club have given him that time to show his worth, and I hope that he realises his obvious talent.
There's been some good comments in recent days and thank you for them. Notoveryet questioned the results of Derbyshire's overseas players and suggested that only Cheteshwar Pujara, Martin Guptill, Usman Khawaja and Albie Morkel had been successes since Chris Rogers, with Jimmy Neesham and Hashim Amla, maybe Shiv Chanderpaul given the benefit of the doubt.
As a hard man to please - and remember, I grew up watching Barlow, Wright and Kirsten - I'd say that only Guptill earns an unqualified pass mark from me. Pujara wasn't here long enough, Khawaja will be remembered as much for his Hampshire last day knock, rather than what preceded it, while Morkel did OK but won us few, if any matches.
That T20 gig is tough though. Neesham's four wickets and composed knock against Lancashire won us the game, but in a format where two or three good overs and a quick thirty can make you a star, few of ours over the years have been standouts.
I'd agree that Shiv was past his best and Amla, like Dilshan, disappointed. It is a frustrating business, though I'd not agree we shop in the bargain basement for such players. There are world-class names in there, who don't come cheap. In signing them, an expectation of runs was largely unrealised. Would a good English-qualified player be a better bet? Yes, if you could guarantee a return, such as you get from Wayne Madsen, but remember Rikki Clarke? A top player for Surrey and also for Warwickshire, but his stint with us was a costly disappointment. There are no more guarantees in cricket than there are in life...
On the Chesney situation, logic suggests his contractual situation is the reason for non-selection. It could be his agent's valuation of his worth as opposed to Derbyshire's, in much the same way as Greg Smith and Tim Groenewald ended up leaving. It could be that he wants to winter back home, while we want him here to work on his game; he might not be fully fit for a four-day game, or it could be that they just want to try out other options. By the same token, his agent could have been very busy and just not had a chance to sit down and chat.
We shouldn't be too quick to jump to conclusions, but if Mark Footitt is earning the £150K that Huw Lloyd suggested last night, then expectations of Derbyshire competing in that market are unrealistic. Put another way, you'd need to guarantee a lot of runs and wickets for us to consider such an outlay - and you still have the rest of the squad to finance. Then what happens when player X and Y deliver better results on less money? I think you know the answer...
Based on Huw's figure, in Mark's injury-shortened season so far, each wicket is costing 7.5K. Were he playing for us, I'd venture there'd be a few dissenting voices on those statistics.
Keep the comments coming.