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.