I picked up an interesting story on Twitter tonight, with the news that Daryn Smit of the Dolphins franchise in South Africa has announced his retirement from the game in that country to make a permanent move to the UK.
You may recall that a man who is pretty much a complete all-rounder (bats, bowls leg spin and keeps wicket to a high standard) made a double century at the end of the summer for our second team at Belper. This came at the end of another season in which he dominated in the Lancashire League, averaging 86 with the bat and taking 69 wickets at eight runs each.
Having averaged 113 and taken 74 wickets in 2015, it might be said that Smit has come to terms with English wickets rather well...
He will be 33 when the next English county season begins, the same age as Basil D'Oliveira when he made his county bow for Worcestershire in 1964. That didn't turn out too badly for all concerned and I would suggest that Smit's arrival, given that he has an ancestral visa that allows him to play in the UK as a local, might be watched quite closely around the shires.
He has had a truncated winter back home, shoulder surgery ruling him out of a fair amount of cricket, but two centuries in eight matches has been a decent return and I am sure that bowlers will be wary of facing a player who has become a run machine in the Lancashire League. If the runs start to flow again, I suspect opportunity may knock, somewhere, for a man who has earned respect as a consummate professional, both in South Africa and in the north west.
Given opportunity, he would be well worth someone's trouble in the county game. I am a big fan of South African cricketers and there are many examples of those who have come to this country and given exemplary service.
Daryn Smit might be another to open eyes, this summer.