Every year, when the IPL auction takes place, I permit myself a wry smile at some of the goings-on.
There are always players who go for ridiculous amounts and others who for some reason don't get picked up at all.
Talented a bowler as he is, would you take Tymal Mills in your team over Mitchell Johnson? More to the point, would you pay six times the amount for his services? Would you pay around four times more for Eoin Morgan than Martin Guptill? These are moves this year that strike me as bizarre, though good luck to the players who have had their lives transformed by their good fortune.
Mills has a back problem that prevents him playing more than twenty-over cricket, something that won't concern him at all as he reaches millionaire status in one fell swoop. He's a talented bowler, but I'm not sure that he is THAT good. It just shows the benefit of good performance at the right time, as he bowled pretty well in the one-dayers for England in India. Mind you, one assumes no one there watched the Big Bash and how well Johnson bowled - AND he is a dangerous lower-order hitter.
Equally puzzling is the list of players who didn't get picked up. Be honest, if Derbyshire were to announce in the coming weeks that we had picked up any from Marlon Samuels, Colin Munro or Farhaan Behardien for the T20 this summer, we wouldn't be dissatisfied. Each has won plenty of matches for their various sides over the years and all of them offer with bat and ball.
Even more puzzling is that no one bid for Imran Tahir.
There's no great love lost, for obvious historical reasons, between India and Pakistan and Tahir, though South African, is Pakistani in origin. I would suggest that were the world's top-ranked bowler in the format of any other nationality, he would have breezed selection in the competition, one that likes to be seen as the greatest cricket show on earth.
How can it be, when the best bowler in the format isn't there? Big names abound, of course, but surely you would want the number one ranked bowler in the game to be involved? It's like a World Cup without Lionel Messi, or a new Live Aid, where no one asked Adele to perform and decided that no one would want to see Take That or Bruce Springsteen.
I accept that India is awash with spin bowlers, but for no one to sign Tahir and for Ish Sodhi, another fine bowler in the format, to miss out is ludicrous.
Crowds will doubtless turn up in their thousands, but I detect a diminished interest in a competition that has had its share of scandals and has a growing number of detractors.
Back home, there is still no news of any Neil Broom replacement, nor a T20 specialist of our own. I have seen plenty of comments from you on the former, but still hope that we don't opt for the loan market.
I was asked that question the other day in an email and my reasons are quite clear. Loan signings are OK if you have injuries, or batsmen who are collectively going through a bad trot. Yet if we go to another county to sign a batsman on loan before the season, for me we are sending out a wrong message. You are effectively telling your own players that the bloke from another team's periphery is better than those in our own squad.
I have no idea whether Tom Wood, Charlie McDonnell or Luis Reece will become good county cricketers, but we will never know if they don't get the opportunity. All have proven that they can score runs in second team cricket, so for me they should now get the chance to push for a senior role - unless we can find a player of near-international standing, who looks like he could win us matches.
No one is complaining about the signing of Imran Tahir blocking Matt Critchley, because he will work with him and in time aid his development. The same goes for Hardus Viljoen and our young clutch of seamers. Each will mentor the young players and will also, most likely, win us games.
If we picked up - plucking a couple of names very much at random - David Miller or Farhaan Behardien on a Kolpak, the likelihood is that they would do the same and show our young players how you handle run chases and pressure situations. You aren't going to get that from Johnny Average from another county, who averages around thirty but can't get a regular game.
Anyway, let's see what happens. In closing, I admit to being very impressed by the Briggs of Burton marquee, that has now been erected on the square at the 3aaa County Ground.
It is hard to fault the rationale that time spent in the nets on English wickets will be of greater benefit to the players than the considerably different surfaces of Dubai. While they doubtless enjoyed some sun on their backs, it would not be replicating early Spring in England.
For that idea, and many others this winter, Kim Barnett deserves a great deal of credit.