Oh dear, l think the good feel factor is disappearing faster than some of the loose deliveries despatched off a beleaguered Derbyshire attack.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire matches, but since then the wheels seem to have come off. Injuries, obviously, have not helped other than to underline lack of strength in depth, squad wise, especially in the bowling department. Looking at the makeup of the squad it gives an impression of a lack of balance. We have more leggies than you can shake a stick at, and bizarrely three very good wicket keepers. The three keepers all offer slightly different qualities but nevertheless are fundamentally wicket keepers and you only need one in any given game. HH hasn't had a look in and that seems like a waste of a talented cricketer. I suppose at a push you could play all three but that seems unlikely. The recruitment of one keeper was necessary but two, l don't think so, especially when reinforcements were required elsewhere. Also to add to the unbalanced nature of the squad, we don't have an off spinner, okay we have 'Mads' but no SLA.
While the batting is not immune from criticism it's the bowling that has been the weak link and the signing of Hardus and Imran Tahir were welcome. Obviously we have not seen the best of our strike bowler and Imran has yet to arrive, so in some respects we are left with last year's attack and that has not delivered on numerous occasions. With hindsight another experienced seam bowler should probably have been signed rather than a third keeper.
Until the last few games, l thought we might have the makings of a strong and settled batting unit but those expectations were short lived. Ben Slater has found himself a niche in the RLODC but he really needs to translate that into the longer version as, l think Adam said in an early response. And why did Billy demote himself down the order, unless it was an attempt to avoid another unnecessary run out with Ben! And there are still question marks about Shiv at three. Is it asking too much with his bowling duties? At the moment it seems as though if Wayne fails there is no one to take command of the innings at a vital time to either press on or repair the damage.
We have a handful of senior pros in Madsen, Palladino, Godleman and Wilson, along with our overseas contingent but the majority of the squad is made up of young cricketers trying to establish themselves in the game. And while l am a big believer in home grown talent there is a case for a little more experience when you look at this youthful squad. I am definitely not advocating going down the same route as Leicestershire , but maybe a tweak to the squad, with the introduction of an experienced loanee, especially in the absence of Viljoen.
In the meantime it will be interesting to compare our young guns with the senior citizens from Grace Road. Just hope the Worcester debacle was a 'wake up call' for the team.