Terrific news this morning, as Imran Tahir moves from third to first in the world rankings for one-day internationals, having already moved ahead of Trent Boult and Sunil Narine in the short form of the game.
It is exciting, ahead of what promises to be a special 2017 season and Imran is to be congratulated on his achievement. He is a clear example of a bowler who has worked at his craft and, although fairly late into the first-class game, he has become pretty much the complete bowler over the past twelve months.
His puzzling combination of lateral and top spin, combined with clever changes of pace and flight, make him a very difficult bowler to get on top of. He took a little 'tap' in this week's one-day internationals. but one was on a very good batting wicket and on the other he bowled a more miserly second spell after his first one was expensive.
There isn't a bowler in the game's long history who has never been hit around the ground, but the key is in how you come back and Tahir's skills and fitness suggest he will be playing the game for some time yet.
Our other summer leggie, Jeevan Mendis, took 5-97 for his Tamil Union side in the week, but they were beaten by an innings by the Sri Lankan Army side. He has had a good winter though, taking 32 wickets at 26 and scoring 414 runs at a shade under 40. We would take those statistics in Derbyshire colours, that's for sure. The way he bats, he is either going to get runs quickly or not at all, but we must hope for a quick acclimatisation and weather that isn't too cold for him to feel the ball between his fingers!
Finally today, it was interesting to see the words of Ashwell Prince, who as coach has revitalised the Cape Cobras franchise in South Africa after dreadful early season form. Prince, such a fine overseas player for Lancashire attributed it as follows:
"It was important for me that we went back to the kind of thinking
where senior players drive the standards. They were around in
the days when the team was winning and now they are around when the
team is struggling. They know where the team needs to be and what it
needs to get back to winning."
Rather similar to what Kim Barnett has suggested we do at Derbyshire, bring in senior players with a winning mentality, who know what is required in tight situations and have the nerve and the skills to get their team across the line.
All rather exciting, isn't it?