My first half an hour free for a couple of days so thought I would pitch in with a few comments.
First up, my wife had eight-hour surgery on Wednesday and is recovering slowly but steadily. The surgical team are happy with progress and she has moved from intensive care to high dependency. She is likely to be in hospital for at least another week, as things stand, but a life-threatening issue appears to have been rectified. Needless to say, my respect and admiration for a wonderful team of surgeons, doctors and nurses knows no bounds and my thanks to them are absolute.
Hopefully I can report on continued progress sometime during the week.
On to cricket and our limited attack took a bit of a pasting, as expected, from Leicestershire. I don't recall a weaker county attack since the early 1970's, when we opened the bowling with the very pedestrian Ian Buxton, in the absence of viable alternatives. Having said that, Ian would have strengthened the attack in this game and was a gutsy cricketer.
The wicket appeared to me a road and I can't think Hardus Viljoen would have got much from it either. When you encounter such tracks, all you can do is grin and bear it, take the punishment when it is dished out and make sure that you cash in yourselves.
That is what Derbyshire has done. While the visitors have, on paper, a stronger attack, there's nowt short of a howitzer will get joy on such a wicket. While cloud and rain will likely truncate the play tomorrow, we should have no fears in such a track and should simply bat ourselves to safety.
Finally from me, I totally agree with Ian's post on the last article. Take the best two bowlers from any attack in the country and it will struggle and my pre-season post saying that we needed luck for success was entirely correct. Hardus Viljoen has remained fit for the past few years in South Africa, but has picked up an injury that rules him out of half of the summer. Meanwhile, Will Davis is also out and our likely impressive opening attack has been ripped apart.You can't blame anyone at the club for this, but they will likely be working on personal fitness plans for the two, much as was developed for Mark Footitt when he encountered such problems.
As for the wicket-keeping role, you pick your best player and do so until he fails to deliver. Daryn Smit kept for 144 overs in this game and conceded not a single bye, despite standing up for a lot of that time. Anyone who has seen him will doubtless agree he is one of the best glove men we have had in many years, much as I expected from reviews of his technique from South Africa.
Against that, arguments for his exclusion in favour of Harvey Hosein can generally only be the result of friendship and family loyalty. No one is clamouring for Tom Wood to play in place of Wayne Madsen, another player at the peak of his game. In any sport you pick your best players and in my opinion Smit is our best keeper, just as Madsen is the focal point of the batting.
He has been steady, if not yet prolific with the bat and set high standards behind the stumps. Harvey has scored some, but in my opinion not enough runs in the second eleven to make a strong case for himself.
Until he does so, or until Smit's standards drop, there is no argument.
With that, I say farewell for another few days, bar for comments when I have time.
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