Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Talking point - averages, Kolpaks and overseas players

I always enjoy getting your emails and comments, even when I don't agree with them, or they disagree with me.

Such a comment came from Paul last night, suggesting that only Wayne Madsen of our current batsmen had an average that was 'acceptable with some', while citing that we had an 'endless list' of failed overseas/Kolpaks'.

It is worth taking these points separately. Of the likely incumbents of top seven positions for us this coming season, here are their first-class batting averages:

Billy Godleman 31.84
Ben Slater 28.49
Shiv Thakor 38.62
Wayne Madsen 40.18
Neil Broom 39.32
Alex Hughes 25.82
Harvey Hosein 32.40
Luis Reece 32.67
Gary Wilson 36.05

I've not listed Charlie McDonnell and Tom Wood, as neither has enough first-class experience for it to be fair.

Of course, all will want to build on what they have, but north of thirty is the mark of a solid county player. Both Ben Slater and Alex Hughes, if selected, will benefit from a regular place in the side. Billy Godleman has improved greatly over the past two summers, while Shiv Thakor will doubtless enjoy the promised opportunity at number three this summer.

Both Luis Reece and Alex Hughes, like Shiv, offer with bat and ball, but the argument for the inclusion of both Harvey Hosein and Gary Wilson is strong. Meanwhile, Neil Broom's career average suggests that last year was a 'blip' and a return to the norm would be much appreciated.

As for the failed overseas and Kolpaks, we have done better than some counties. James Bryant and Dominic Telo didn't come off, though Bryant was just starting to come to terms with wickets here when he picked up a nasty injury. Telo was playing a lower level of cricket in South Africa and while he looked composed at the crease, it didn't translate to the volume of runs required.

Of others, we had decent or good service at the time from Matt Cassar, Ant Botha, Robin Petersen, Wavell Hinds and Chris Bassano, while Jon Moss was a talented all-rounder, if not truly outstanding.

Some didn't deliver to reputations - Lawrence Rowe, Hashim Amla, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Shiv Chanderpaul would all fit that descriptor - but we have had some wonderful players. Eddie Barlow, Peter Kirsten, John Wright, Dean Jones, Daryll Cullinan, Mohammad Azharuddin, Michael Holding, Ian Bishop, Chris Rogers, Michael Di Venuto and Martin Guptill. I still think back fondly to Chris Wilkins, who came as a relative unknown and largely batted the same way regardless of the match situation. Yet he entertained me royally, between the ages of 12 and 15 and I never saw him make less than thirty. Chris would have made a fortune in T20 cricket, bowling a bit of medium pace and fielding well anywhere.

So too would fellow South African Adrian Kuiper, who hit a ball a country mile. You wouldn't rank him with the names above as a player, but he was the reason we won the Sunday League in 1990. He was a fantastic finisher and would have been a Kieron Pollard-type of player today, traveling the world and in great demand as a huge fan favourite.

I don't see Hardus Viljoen as a gamble at all. If he stays fit, he will take wickets as he has through his career as a fast and direct bowler. As I said last week, there will be days he may frustrate and the rudder is awry, but plenty of others where he will win matches or contribute to doing so. I cannot think of a faster bowler in our division and, as we saw from Mark Footitt, pace is crucial at this level.

I'd suggest, on his record, that Viljoen is a better bowler than Mark, so let's see if he makes a similar contribution.

A good talking point though! So who are the overseas and Kolpaks that you remember  - for the right or wrong reasons? Please note my list is not meant to be exhaustive - there's plenty of names I know I have omitted and I am fortunate to be at an age where I saw them all...

Postscript: Thanks to my daughter, Rachel for typing some of this. It's what university holidays were made for!


Anonymous said...

Interesting article in the Guardian about Kolpaks and Brexit.....

Ash said...

For me 1 of Slater, Hughes or Reece have really got to stand up and be counted and have a heavy year runs wise, if one of them does it, great, if 2 do it we are in business, if all 3 do it we are well and truly doing something right, match that with Billy and Wayne approaching the 1k mark and Broom improving on last season (which he surely will) add Shiv in the mix (not sure about him at 3 atm) Wilson or HH who can both bat, Mendis is here at the start of the season and he can bat, then Dino and even Viljoen has runs on the board, I'm more than happy how things look, lets hope this time next year we are talking about Villy as one of best even Kolpaks, the game sounds easy on paper eh?

KC8 said...

Wonder if we are interested in Dane Piedt with the recent revelations about him being available as well. Doubt the budget would allow it but perhaps if we hadn't already signed Mendis we would have been.

1. Godleman
2. Slater
3. Thakor
4. Madsen
5. Wilson
6. Broom (Reece must be close behind)
7. Hosein
8. Mendis
9. Viljoen
10. Palladino
11. Davis

This would be my team for the start of the season providing training goes well. Alex H and Reece pushing Broom and coming in for Wilson when he is unavailable in my books. I see Taylor, Cotton and Milnes all ready to come in to the team, although if it was Viljeon goes down we certainly lose a lot of potency I think.

Mark N said...

Well we will never know if Broom was going to have a better second season. Looks like we should have signed a batsmen. Wonder if we will go in for that Smith guy after his trial last summer. Also bowls part time leg spin which might be attractive.

Paul said...

Don't think Derbyshire will be gutted by this and may actually be relieved as there was no guarantees of success in year two.

Hopefully means that we will end up with someone better!

Ash said...

Broom going does not change much for me, just means Wilson and HH deffo start the season (for me anyway) I suppose it depends how much money it frees up, I would like to think that KB has options for another batsman. To be fair its the 1st bit of disappointing news we've had for a while and for a Derbyshire fan thats quite good going! There has been (for me) so much positive news of late that something a little negative feels a little worse than it probably is. #WeAreDerbyshire