Saturday, 21 January 2017

Clues on plans in week's news

It might just be me reading too much into it, but this week's media pieces emanating from the 3aaa County Ground gave me, at least, an indication of the decision on a 'Neil Broom replacement' having been made.

There have been articles on both Tom Wood and Charlie MacDonnell, both of them with plans for a top order place in the batting line-up. Rightly so, as both are young players with talent and the potential to get better. As Second XI player of the year, as well as a heavy scorer in a strong Derbyshire Premier League, Wood has proved that he has the skills to make a good fist of the first-class game, but that final level is the biggie.

T20 Innings for the Unicorns against strong county elevens have been strong indicators of his talent and he would be a good pick for John Wright in our first choice side in the format. Wood has the power and the range of shots to capitalise on the so important Powerplay and in the company of an experienced top order 'biffer' his game could flourish.

We also read that MacDonnell is enjoying his winter and feels he is ready for his game to kick on, both as a batsman and a useful off-spinner. He certainly looked as if he belonged last year, making 21 and a composed, unbeaten 35 as all around him collapsed against Essex, the highlight of a season in which he too scored heavily for the second team.

Indeed, after eight first-class innings, the rest for Durham MCCU, his average is just a shade under 50, indicative of a talent worthy of opportunity.

So, in publicising their desire to get into the team, is it a subtle statement that we are going to go with what we have?

After all, one would assume that both Luis Reece and Alex Hughes were a little ahead in the pecking order, certainly in terms of experience, although we don't know how they are all looking in the nets, of course.

Were we to sign a Kolpak batsman to replace Neil Broom, their chances of first team opportunity would probably be quite slim, so perhaps we have had a sign that the Kiwi will not be directly replaced.

There is, of course, a chance that we don't go for a direct replacement, something to which I have alluded before. The addition of Hardus Viljoen and the Mendis/Tahir combo gives us two good experienced bowlers, but we only need one to get an injury and we aren't that far ahead of where we were last year.

I think it unrealistic to expect Viljoen to steam in from April to September without an occasional breather, then we are back to a largely unproven seam attack in which only Tony Palladino can be regarded as a time served and bona fide county cricketer. Several have showed promise, and I hope to see them kick on this year, but much will depend on Viljoen hitting his stride and staying fit.

Kim Barnett has gone on record as saying he wants opponents to be unsure whether to bat against a testing pace attack, or opt to bat against a quality leg spinner on the last afternoon. Were Viljoen to be injured, it would be a similar situation to last year, where opposition captains won the toss and settled back to bat until mid-afternoon on day 2.

Hopefully the seamers will benefit from that experience, but supporters will be excused a few concerns. Will Davis had a few injuries, Tom Taylor missed almost the whole of last season, Ben Cotton hasn't yet shown himself as adept at the four-day game as the one-day, while Greg Cork hasn't yet convinced as a first team bowler.

With Tony Palladino now in a combined bowling/coaching role, it leaves seam bowling in the hands of the improved Tom Milnes and Shiv Thakor. With the latter perhaps doing too much bowling last year through necessity and suffering a back injury as a consequence, there are perhaps a few questions to be answered.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.


Ash said...

I've had a few thoughts about this myself and I would leave the money in the pot for now. I'd liked to think that at least 1 of the younger batsman will push on and have a real breakthrough season, and in the bowling department Davis has undoubted ability and will benefit from having HV around so the gauntlet should be thrown down to the other medium paces to bowl their way into the team, I would like to see a genuine offspin option, its a shame Parky left. Can anyone else in the current squad offer that? As pointed out its a long old season so any money saved now could be used in an emergency later. Off topic but does anyone know what membership numbers we are at at the moment?

Peakfan said...

It was interesting that MacDonnell said he thought he could take wickets with his off spin in the week, as since Wes Durston was released we dont have that option. Parkinson turned it the other way as a slow left armer, so MacDonnell and Madsen are our offie options.
As for membership numbers..only the club will know that mate but publicity suggests it goes pretty well
And rightly so. It has been a good winter

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I think you may be correct Peakfan. Last season, we couldn't take 20 wickets for love nor money. Kim Barnett and the rest of the backroom staff have hopefully solved that issue with some great additions.

Only problem left is that our batting could collapse at the drop of a hat and we have had Broom leave with Wilson joining us when he isn't on Ireland duties. I still wish we had an additional senior batsman coming in to replace Broom and get the runs that we need so Mendis and Tahir have a target to bowl at.

I just don't wish us to be relying on Reece, Wood, MacDonnell, Hossein for runs when we have funds available for a batting replacement as Chris Grant stated on twitter.

Know it will be an unpopular view but I think we have finally fixed the bowling issue of the last few seasons and now we will struggle for experience and to get enough runs to win games unfortunately!!


Knack said...

We have signed two match winning bowlers, the envy of the division , if they get injured you can only shrug your shoulders and think " what if ".
The batting however has not been strengthened at all, the incomers about equal those who left.
But, did anyone of us expect everything to be solved over one winter.

Peakfan said...

Agreed there Knack. We have made good strides over the winter and I expect that Viljoen and the leggies will be a real challenge for div 2 batting sides if they get any help

Anonymous said...

If we don't add another batsmen we are taking a real punt. Problem with leaving decisions to Billy is he is the leader of the players and he will naturally like many if not all of them and he will back them. That's fine but vs an experienced kolpak I am not sure that is the right decision. If we could get another South African maybe someone even who has played over here before that should hopefully be an upgrade on Broom. And although Reece, Hughes, Wood & McDonnel might surprise us it's a gamble. We haven't taken any gambles with the bowling and I feel if we refuse to strengthen we might regret it. Thakor at 3 is an I know. The only real constants and ones we can rely on are Madsen and Billy and I think that leaves us short. Yes Wilson could be very useful but we won't have him all the time due to international commitments.

Stevie B said...

If we can get him, the solution is obvious -Cameron White - never going to play for Australia again, young enough still to have the desire, OK probably not bowling again, but natural leadership qualities and consistent batsman familiar with English conditions

Knack said...

Mark, I agree, we need more of everything bar wicketkeepers and legspinners, however the market is as limited as our funds. Having said that I do expect another rabbit out the hat.

Peakfan said...

Fine player Stevie but he would struggle for an overseas gig based on recent international appearances and couldn't go Kolpak as Australia doesnt have the requisite agreements.
So his only option would be an ancestral visa or UK passport. Not sure on that but think someone would have taken him up on it by now had he be in possession.
If we make a signing it will be because the senior players feel we need augmented in an area. Whether we are further on in batting or bowling prospects only they can judge...

jasper said...

Just signing a kolpak batsman does not guarantee runs. Ask Neil broom. Go with what we have and let's find out if some of these youngsters are good enough.if they don't have a chance how will we ever know. Not much point in signing Reece just to play in the seconds. Personally I don't wish to see us revert to the old kolpak days..

Anonymous said...

Fair points Jasper. Broom was poor last season. So not a guarantee at all. However, we are replacing a kolpak so not quite going back to those days. Maybe we should go with what we have. I have always wanted a replacement but I am just greedy and want to win. Let's hope someone stands up. I will happily be proven wrong if someone gets a chance, takes it and proves themselves indespesible.

Opening Bat said...

Are we not being:
a) Greedy or b) Unsupportive of the youngsters. We have signed Reece, Wilson, Vijion & Mendis, if we don't plan to play them why have we signed them? Over the last couple of years the management should be commended for trying to bring through youngsters from the academy, these players need to be given a chance to have a spell in the 1st XI, this should show if they are good enough or not, last year Hughes, Thakor, Slater & Hosein all had good performances, they need an extended opportunity to have a chance of gaining some consistency, to dip into 1st Xi for a couple of matches then back to the 2nds is no good, the gulf in quality and opposition is significant. I do not think we should sign another player, lets give these guys a chance, and if they ALL fail, we will have money for a possible emergency loan signing, but at least we will have given these 'kids' a chance. I think at the moment we have 15 or 16 players realistically challenging for a 1st team place, then add Wood, Hemmings, Cork, MacDonell. I would hate to see us stifle the young talent or worse still loose the likes of one of the best prospects in the country (Hosein!)