Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Guest Piece: Unbalanced Squad

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.

Stuart, York

12 comments:

Gary said...

Good points Stuart. Agree with a lot of what you say. As for tomorrows game I would see Wilson coming in at the expense of Slater and then take your pick for the bowlers. I can't see how we can change much at the moment as there is no one to bring in! Harvey Hosein is currently the third best keeper/batsman on the staff so can't see anything happening with that in the short term - the decision has been made over the winter to bring in new keepers and they are not going to change after 3 games. We have someone with a first class average of 36 coming in at 8 so on paper we are not short of batting. If you look at the second team game the bowling figures are horrendous and providing no case for inclusion so I cant see how they will change it barring a pick out of the blue. Only hope I could see if it was turning square and we had Mendis and Madsen to bowl them out twice!

Adam said...

You have summed up all our problems at present Stuart. I agree, I cannot see wholesale changes for the Leicestershire game, it will be interesting to see who gets the gloves between Daryn and Gary. I would go for Daryn between the two as his keeping like his catching has been impressive, although Gary did nothing wrong previously. Gary's return will strengthen us as he can be relied on to offer some much needed fight down the order.
At present there are currently no viable options in the pace bowling department and even with a fully fit Viljoen and Davis we would still be one or two short I feel. Likewise with the spinners, we could do with a good alternative spin option, ideally an off spinner as we cannot solely rely on legspin.
This will be a big game for some of the batsmen, the wickets at home this year have all been good strips so there will be an opportunity for all the batsmen to contribute. Billy should open the innings, he is a classical opener in both the way he plays and his mindset and batting at 5 is not suitable for him. Likewise Ben is the same and has never really looked comfortable down the order so I would drop Luis down to 3 or even lower (ideally Wayne would be at 3 for me) despite him having performed well so far opening. Shiv would be better suited batting down at 6, his bowling since joining us has improved greatly and to assist with him bowling more overs a drop down the order would work better and be more in tune with his batting style.
The bowling is going to have to plug away over the next four days and Mendis will bowl a lot of overs and hopefully with the sun being out he will get into some rhythm and cause them some problems as I cannot see any other way of us doing so at present.

Grant said...

When does the footie season start???

Mark N said...

Good article. We are in a real mes.

I would play
CC v Leicester
1. Godleman
2. Slater
3. Madsen
4. Smit
5. Thakor
6. Hughes
7. Wilson (w/k)
8. Reece
9. Mendis
10. Critchley
11. Palladino

For me without Davis and Viljeon the only out and out seamer I would pick is palladino. I would entrust Reece, Thakor and Hughes with the supporting roles and would go down the spin route. Mendis, Critchley, Madsen and Smit. I would give the gloves to Wilson and give Smit some responsibility as a batsmen and put Thakor at 5 and Hughes at 6. Wilson and Hughes could swap in the order I am not overly worried. Reece it's harsh to go from opening to 8 and Mendis seems to be playing like a tail ender so he can to 9 which is a joke but he's shown little willingness to build an innings is preference goes to Hughes, Reece etc. Who would take the new ball with Palladino? Reece maybe or Thakor. Shiv cant bat 3 and bowl massive overs. Madsen to step up to 3 as our senior bat.

Steve H said...

I'd rather not touch upon the failings of the squad, nor the lob sided nature of it, and I'm certainly not commenting upon a wicketkeeper issue that I'm a little too close to, I think I'd like to comment upon something which gripes, and has done for a while..

Members Luncheon

I grant you that there are certainly a number of pensioners in attendance, but that doesn't excuse pensioners portions at mainstream pricing.

Here I'd better use " in my opinion" quite a few times..look out for it!

IMO staff seem to look at the dishes as though they have never seen a serving spoon before. I'd guess someone has mentioned to be careful giving out too much.

This week , because the red cabbage dish was almost empty, I managed to get a 1/4 portion, and would have said so had I not just queried the portion of the peas!

The next chap in line had the benefit of a new bowl, so his portion was as though a tarantula had cornered his plate!

So there i sat, quietly stewing ( pun 😉) . I realise a profit needs to be shown so how about confident staff serving portions to fit the price (imo) and not portions almost weighed and measured in front of you.

I can tell you, if the trick is to make guys and gals yearning for that tea time cream cake, then a good job has been well done !

David Woolley said...

Just seen the squad for Leicestershire at home.
Godleman
Slater
Thakor
Madsen
Hughes
Wilson
Smit
Mendis
Taylor
Palladino
Reece
MacDonnell
Hemmings
Gleadhall

Think it will be the top eleven in order with MacDonnell, Hemmings and Gleadhall getting experience of being around the first X1.

Let's hope it's turning sideways !!!!!

Dave said...

As our squad contains several 'bits and pieces' cricketers possibly the first 11 names drawn from a hat would produce a better balance.
Bar for the position of wicketkeeper we lack top notch performers with either bat or ball.
Based on current evidence tomorrow is a must win game if we are to avoid the wooden spoon.
Glorious weather forecast , probably good batting wicket , and potentially our weakest opponent to date.
What could possibly go wrong?

Stevie B said...

Nice piece Stuart, well done that man...he's done nothing wrong but with the balance of all the keepers and leggies in the squad I struggle to see when HH will get a chance....the longer he is not playing, the more chance Notts have...my XI as it stands

Godleman
Slater
Madsen
Wilson
Reece
Hughes
Thakor
Smit
Mendis
Taylor
Palladino


....problem is I can't see us taking 20 wickets with any fit bowling combination at present

Peakfan said...

Good piece and good comments! Thank you to Stuart and to all of you!

Mark N said...

You realise what a mess we are in when you see the differences in our teams. Nobody is right or wrong. Reece could literally bat anywhere from 1-8. Smit 3-8. Thakor 3-8. Mendis down as 9 for me and another poster. Hughes could bat anywhere. Godleman goes from opener to 5. Probably back to opener again. Wilson will probably bat 6 but I've said 7 someone else has said 4. Team really doesn't pick itself. Not even close. Sad times.

Tim, Chesterfield said...

Not that he's likely to take wickets at this level but isn't young Cork still on the staff? If he not considered good enough which begs the question of why he's still here or is he injured?

Anonymous said...

Cork is currently playing for seconds apparently. Calls to mind Mike Carey on the late Ashley Harvey-Walker in the 1970s - someone saying Ashley was 'just a good 2nd XI player' which Mike said was madness - if he wasn't good enough for the firsts, why was he in the seconds?! Although, to be dark, I'd be glad to see Ashley in this team. I wonder if Cork's name was anything else whether he'd still be on the staff?
Andy, Devon