Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Time for a rethink, methinks...

Yesterday was a very bad day for Derbyshire, there's no getting away from that.

As I said last night, it was unacceptable, unprofessional and shockingly poor. Frustrating too, when the batting has been pretty good this summer. Let's not forget, only a week or so back we were hailing a side that was racking up one-day 300s for fun.

All sides have bad days and I don't agree with suggestions that wholesale changes are needed.

Tweaking is, however.

Billy Godleman is captain and a good, sound county opening batsman. So why move down to the middle order? It is a different game there. As captain and skipper, Billy should bat at the top of the order, partnered by whoever is deemed in form. Whether that is Ben Slater or Luis Reece is largely irrelevant, but the skipper should be and should stay at the top, where he handles a new ball well. Why Reece opened in the second innings when apparently with a runner is a questionable decision, some might say foolhardy.

The problem is best solved, in four day cricket, by either Slater or Reece dropping to three. I know they want to give Shiv Thakor a chance there, but a brilliant ton against Northamptonshire apart, he has played cameos, which isn't the job description of that position. Besides, with Jeevan Mendis he is one of only two bowlers who can be trusted to bowl steadily most of the time. Ben Cotton is a good one-day bowler, but I remain to be convinced he can bowl sides out, while Tom Taylor and Tom Milnes are struggling.

If we keep having to bowl Thakor for twenty overs an innings, he isn't going to be able to go in early and be mentally 'switched on' for batting three. Aside from Jacques Kallis, there aren't many have handled that over the years. Talented as Thakor is, he ain't no Kallis and he will struggle and eventually buckle under such a workload.

Then I read that wholesale changes are needed, with Harvey Hosein the first of them. I would like to see Tom Wood play the T20, but does anyone think that Wood and Macdonell in the batting would improve on who is there now? Who is going to bowl, other than what we have in the first team?

With Viljoen and Davis hors de combat until the end of June, we can largely write off four-day cricket success, as I just cannot see where twenty wickets will come. Put the two of them in a later season side with Imran Tahir and there's a different complexion on things, but three straight losses tells a sorry story. We could score 500 and not get first innings lead...

The Hosein story will keep coming back, but therein lies a self-inflicted problem. When I pushed for us to sign Daryn Smit last year, I knew of his stature as a wicket-keeper, but when we signed Gary Wilson I didn't expect it to happen. With Wilson away with Ireland regularly, Hosein was likely to get a lot of cricket.

Then we signed Smit and it was only a matter of time before those at the club saw what everyone in South Africa has known for years - that he is a very high standard wicket-keeper. You have only to watch the speed of his hand work in stumpings and the catches he has taken, with and without gloves to see that. Truth be told, he is probably better than Wilson and the call on who gets the gloves on his return will be a tough one.

So do they give them to Hosein? All he can do is score a load of runs and keep to a high standard in the twos and wait his turn. Both Smit and Wilson know that they need to maintain standards in both disciplines to retain the role, but a slip in one of them, with two of high standard in the wings, will be costly. Yet Wilson, a pugnacious and vibrant batsman, as well as vice-captain, needs to be in the side anyway, which creates another problem.

For the time being my four-day side, assuming all are fit, would be:

Godleman
Slater
Reece
Madsen
Thakor
Hughes
Smit
Mendis
X
X
X

A lot of X's, because not one bowler is making a case for guaranteed selection.

Therein lies the problem.

8 comments:

notoveryet said...

I think you've made the comment before, Peakfan, about people who are outside the first team demanding selection by their performances in the seconds. Which raises the question about how that can happen when the seconds aren't playing any cricket? I think there's only been one three day game, a couple of 20 overs and a handful of 50 over second XI matches, and nothing since the beginning of May. That means that there is no current form on which to challenge under-preforming first team players, and no opportunity to find the form that would enable players like Hosein and McDonnell to challenge. So do you simply keep ploughing on with the players you picked first because you don't know there's anything better. I think there might be a seconds match starting today, but it's neither use nor ornament for the current problem of picking a side against Leicestershire.

paul fitzpatrick said...

My worry is the impact on Billy Godleman
We have gone from Elite Coaching to "Billy is our Man" overnight
Firstly he is a proven opening Batsman and he is an UNPROVEN captain
He needs a Mentor(on and off the field) ,especially when leading a team bereft of confidence and skill
We have to take a long term view Hosein will be at Notts if we are not careful ..HE MUST PLAY
Wilson and Smit can play as batsman if selected
Shiv has moved up 4 places in the order and also will have to bowl many overs
Fundamentally we have replaced Rutherford Broom and Chesney (TOP 4)with Reece Thakor Smit (NOT TOP 4)in my opinion
Losing 2 Quicks to injury is unfortunate and I see end of June position as Played 7 Won 0

Ash said...

I think we would all agree that the previous coaching set up had to change, however looking at it from the outside in its looks to have moved to far over, giving players greater responsibility is all well and good but you need to get the balance right, making people responsible is great but when it becomes to much and turns into pressure thats where you begin to get problems. Anyone got a hotline to John Wright? Any chance he can stop till the end of the season and give us hope?
Lets have a plan for the CC and stick with it, Bill and Ben opening pair, take pressure off Shiv at 3 and bat him further down, play HH.
Its (apparently) going to be hot this weekend, play Mendis, Critchley and Smit and get them bowling their leggies, after all were running out of seam bowlers who can hit line and length.

justmissin'leg said...

Well, given the rapid transformation of our batting and the manner of the defeat to Worcestershire, I'm all for blooding some of the young lads.
I'm not able to claim I've seen much, if anything, of them but Macdonnell and Wood would be given a chance if it were up to me.

The wicket-keeping issue could end sourly for us. I wonder if it's a bit like having three girlfriends all on the go at the same time. Personally, I'd back Harvey with the gloves and most probably play Smit and Wilson for their batting.

No disrespect to Leicestershire but they'd be the best opposition to face for the eleven I'd pick.

Opening Bat said...

Pauls post above covers both point that are frustrating the members. We need a manager who can direct and take decisions from 'outside the group'. This obviously is not going to rectify everything, but it may take some of the pressure of Billy, can he set strategy, pick the team, lead on the field, oh yes then open the batting. Is that why he has dropped down the order? He is our best opening bat so he must open, slot the others into middle order. The other point is the very strange thinking from within on the progression of Harvey Hosein, surely he has to come into the team and keep wicket, if Reece is injured (after hobbling about on Monday), play Harvey as keeper and Smit and or Wilson for their batting. Our batsmen are not scorching the outfield with their batting, Harvey would do no worse.

notoveryet said...

There is actually a second XI match that started yesterday, but it doesn't make encouraging reading. Derbyshire are almost 200 runs with 7 wickets left in their second innings so probably heading for an innings defeat. Wood, Mcdonnell and Hosein all made some runs but not compelling cases for inclusion against Leics. The bowling figures look awful. Milnes is captain but didn't bowl in a Warks total of 500 plus, Critchley and Cork's figures were dreadful, and I barely recognised the rest of the names. It shows that behind the bowlers in the first team et the moment, the well is very dry indeed. I'm not sure what to make of Milnes not bowling. He was in the one day cup squad on Tuesday and fielded as substitute so presumably isn't injured, and (unless he's been told to keep himself fresh,) for one reason or another isn't a bowling option against Leics.

I think Peakfan's X's have to translate to Taylor, Palladino and Cotton for lack of any alternatives, unless work is in progress on a loan. Taylor showed in patches some hint of the bowler we saw two years ago, and Palladino surely won't have two poor games on the trot. Cotton at the moment is providing neither threat or control, so if the pitch is going to be dry and wearing, perhaps we should gamble on Palladino, Taylor and Thakor (although he'd need to bat lower to allow for the possibility of bowling 20 overs a day), plus Mendis and Smit (playing as a spinner if his shoulder will allow it). It's hardly terrifying, without bringing someone else in, the alternative is just filling in names on the team sheet.

Just a thought on Godleman. We're so used to him being a rock in the batting line up, and his one day form has been good, so it's not necessarily obvious how poor a run he's been on since he began to take on wider responsibilities in August last year. Since then, he's averaged 28 in 15 innings, including the joke century against Northants. If you exclude that (accepting that he had reached a half-century before the declaration bowling started), he's averaging 17.5 with one century and nothing else above 33. So his drop to 5 could be an attempt to find some form, or a recognition that with the weight of the expectations of him as captain in this leadership structure, he needs to be in a less pressured position than opening. Whichever it is, the benefits of his captaincy (which in fairness none of us can really judge other than by outward impressions) might have to be weighed against the loss of his runs. These have provided the engine room of Derbyshire's batting for the last two years, with Madsen (in a relatively lean spell), Slater (a more enterprising but much less productive batsman than he was at the beginning of last year) and Chesney Hughes (gone). In the absence of their runs, and no-one else stepping up to replace them, our batting problems are not surprising. It's a sad fact at the moment that with the sole exception of Gary Wilson, it's hard to make a convincing argument for a single player in their current positions in the championship team that doesn't rely in their histories and reputation.

Snapper said...

Kim Barnett said at the forum on Saturday there would be no loan players, the younger players need to step up.

Doug said...

If I was HH I'd be looking for a new county if not selected in the next two games