One of the first landmarks of the winter is reached next week, when Derbyshire announce the membership packages and rates for next season.
It will be interesting to see if the announcement is preceded by news of a big new signing, one of the experienced men that we have been promised. It would doubtless have the desired effect, although they may not be far enough down the line with these at this stage.
Yesterday I read a piece on Cricinfo about Ravi Ashwin, a player who has made his fortune, like many others, on the back of the IPL. He is a fine cricketer, able with the bat and a prolific wicket-taker - on his own tracks.
Therein lies the crux of the matter and the reason for my comment on their website yesterday. You cannot compare Ashwin with Herath, Warne, Murali, Marshall, Akram, Waqar and others because he plays 90% of his cricket in India, on wickets he knows well.
The statistician who was involved in the piece was attempting to show him as better than those above, which on his own wickets he perhaps is. Yet it neglected to consider that his workload is far less than theirs, so he is likely to be more fresh, while not referencing his poor returns elsewhere.
Because of his contract with IPL, Ashwin, like the other Indian stars, is neither able to nor needs to go and ply his trade elsewhere. He is wealthy, yet his stature in the game will always be less, for me, than bowlers such as Bedi, Chandrasekhar, Prasanna, Venkat and Kumble.
These players took wickets everywhere in the world, having honed their craft accordingly. I have little doubt that Ashwin would be a success in the county game, but we will never know that for sure, because it will never happen. All that is known is that his Test wickets in England, South Africa and Australia cost him sixty runs-plus each, compared to twenty-odd at home.
As Derbyshire search for a spin bowler for next season, Ashwin would have been a huge draw for the local ethnic fans and may have taken a lot of wickets, but it will never happen.
Which is all rather a shame.