Thursday, 15 June 2017

Dame Fortune

The greatest of cricket commentators, Richie Benaud, once said that captaincy was 'Ninety per cent luck and ten per cent skill - but don't try it without that ten per cent'.

You could, by extension, say that success in cricket as a whole needs ten per cent of luck at various times.

Take Derbyshire this summer. We were all set for a fun-packed season, in which our gun fast bowler cut down opposition batsmen in swathes, only to find he turns up with an injury, which effectively ruled him out of things until the end of June. To compound this, our other fast bowler, Will Davis, after a couple of sparkling displays, picks up a side injury and is ruled out for a similar period.

Luck with injuries, tosses, the absence of star players from the opposition due to international call ups, catches that you just make by the finger tips, rather than going to ground by similar margins, getting the right blend in the dressing room, winning tosses in wet conditions - they all play a part. However well Leicester City played to win the Premier League, they had few injuries and were able to play a settled side, while the 'big guns' all had seasons where they had to rebuild, or struggled to do the same.

It has been challenging for Billy Godleman and Kim Barnett this year, without doubt and had that ten per cent gone their way, I suspect that supporters would be a little more content than they are right now. By the same token, there have been a few situations when the requisite intensity wasn't there, while it is probably safe to say that our young seamers haven't all progressed as we would have wished. Had they done so, the loss of Viljoen and Davis would not have been so keenly felt.

On the subject of good fortune, I feel a little for Harvey Hosein today. He has done little wrong in the seconds and has scored steadily, if not spectacularly. At the same time, Daryn Smit has kept wicket nigh-flawlessly, having taken over from Gary Wilson when he went first to international commitments and then returned with a knee injury.

Yesterday, Harvey scored an unbeaten century for the second team against Worcestershire and, were there a game this weekend, may have played himself into it, especially when Smit himself sustained an injury in the final innings against Northamptonshire.

Yet there is no game for the senior side for another eleven days. Between times, Smit will likely get fit and Harvey can only press his claims by scoring runs and keeping well in next week's scheduled game against a likely strong Yorkshire second team. By the same token, he then only has the game at Cardiff, followed by the Chesterfield cricket week, before the T20 starts, not currently his game.

As things stand, his route into the side appears most likely either as being deemed a better wicket-keeper batsman than Daryn Smit, or a more in-form batsman than Alex Hughes, ironically the two batsmen who came out of the Wantage Road defeat with their reputations intact.

See what I mean about luck?


Anonymous said...

I don't think it matters what HH does in the seconds. He won't play in the 1st XI this season. And it clearly has nothing to do with cricket.

What he needs to do is to continue performing well in the seconds with the hope that another county gives him an opportunity. Not necessarily a bigger club; simply one that will reward him with 1st XI opportunities when he performs. As he did at the end of last season.
I notice that DCCC are dropping him further down the batting order in the seconds. Perhaps the lack of opportunity in the twos accounts for his unspectacular volume of runs PF?
Do you know if he's even allowed to train with the 1st team squad nowadays ?

I'm thrilled that Callum Broderick is also in the runs and doing well. He's a young, local lad who's been through a lot in the last few years. Well done Callum!
Let's hope that when regime change occurs (as it undoubtedly will) these youngsters are still involved in the game with Derbyshire. We the supporters need to ask ourselves what do we want from this club?


Peakfan said...

We need another regime change like I need another hole in my head Azz.
I think the answer to your question is the same as supporters of any club in any sport. Success.
Those in charge of selection pick a side to win a specific game of cricket. Derby County dont worry too much about picking Academy players unless on merit. Nor do any other clubs.
If Harvey plays well and his attitude is right, he will get opportunity. He has a good mentor in Daryn Smit, who encountered exactly the same issue in his younger days

Tim, Chesterfield said...

On a separate point there's talk of the Kent game in September being moved due to the Boyzone concert. Have you heard anything. Is there anywhere else but Queens Park?

Peakfan said...

I saw that but nothing more than a suggestion at this stage.
Realistically there is only Queens Park for a 4 day game. The need for health and safety and parking issues to be addressed would legislate against anywhere else in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I think you'll need to charge up your DeWalt PF - it will happen!

I agree - players should be picked on merit. Given his performances last season, HH earned the right to start this season; whether he stayed in the first XI would have, obviously, depended on performances. I think there are only 3 people who don't follow that logic. PF, you're one of them !

The current structure is baffling. I may be wrong but I don't think DCCC has stumbled across a wining formula that no other club recognises or subscribes to. The real danger, and I say this having given it some thought, is that the club starts to be run by a small number of self-serving individuals. I think the treatment of HH this season together with Kim Barnett's dismissive comment about "ripping up his contract" gives some insight into the mentality of those in charge and it's indicative of the management style at the club.

I follow local, Derbyshire league cricket and there are two players who people are most interested in - Ben Slater and Harvey Hosein. They're Derbyshire born and bred - not South African, not West Indian, not Staffordshire, not Leicestershire, not Lancashire. Derbyshire. They're the chaps who generate most conversation; generate interest; generate excitement and who motivate the local kids to play cricket. I've paid my hard earned cash to go and watch the superstars: Amla, Dilshan et al. The club has attempted to buy success and I've been bitterly disappointed. Invariably, I leave feeling as if I haven't had value for money. I leave wishing I'd paid my money to watch Ben or Harvey irrespective of how well they may have done. I don't subscribe to the 'success at any cost' mentality - If I did I'd go and watch Chelsea! And if, by success, you mean winning games of cricket then you, me, everyone is going to be disappointed.

Success can be measured in many different ways. Financially we're reasonably successful. Our off-field development is also successful. Perhaps we should put some measure on locally produced first class cricketers. Would there not be a measure of success to get some Derbyshire born lads to a level where they could hold their own in the first class game? In order to do that we should give them every opportunity, particularly when they've been putting-in first class performances. It appears that after years of hard work, determination and club investment, a youngster has been dropped just at the point where he starts to make first class performances. In fact he did it when no-one else was. This, to me and many others, is the opposite of "success", which is why it generates such strength of feeling on this forum and others. For me, Graeme Welch had the correct approach - steady progress using a core of local lads.

Who knows what the next regime change will bring, but it will undoubtedly come, and as a Derbyshire supporter I hope it brings success in all its forms.


Peakfan said...

Good points Azz, but you miss mine!

Last year, we went with youth, a policy largely forced upon us by Graeme Welch's assertion that they could do the job. They didn't, and anyone who who saw last season's team capitulate woefully at times will agree with that.

Hence the winter recruitment. Experienced men were brought in and they have all done well, with the exception of Viljoen, sadly injured. Smit hasn't yet become the middle order batsman we hoped for, but has become an outstanding keeper, which was always likely. Wilson, recruited for that role, has become an excellent middle-order bat.

Your assertion that 'only three people' don't follow your logic is a tad optimistic. Yes Harvey did well last year, and if he does well for the 2s this week, the case for his inclusion at Cardiff becomes strong. Yet there are few clubs in any sport where a youngster would be included initially ahead of two high-quality imports. Sad, perhaps, but true.

I am a big fan of Harvey, as I am a supporter of Ben Slater. Both need to force a way back in with performance, as I have said before. If they both get runs against Yorkshire 2s this week, both will be very hard to omit. Ben is an equally good bat, possibly better, than Luis Reece, but the latter offers an extra dimension that is being used at present.

And in closing, I didn't say there wouldn't be another regime, because these always change in sport. My assertion was - and is - that we do not need more instability right now.

I firmly believe that opportunity for Ben and Harvey will come. They will become established and worthy county cricketers at the very least, but would be better served in working hard with good mentors at Derbyshire, rather than being convinced that the grass is greener elsewhere.

There's a long and growing list of those persuaded to the contrary, when it didn't work out.

Anonymous said...

Ben Slater is 27 how long does he have to wait or would it be worth him looking elsewhere

Peakfan said...

Ben is 'there'. Just out of the side temporarily. He will be back. I rate the lad very highly

Steve H said...

Well said Azz. You've put the case very well for many of us.

Knack said...

The reality of professional sport is you pick what you believe is the best side for any given game. When you get a marginal call, which I think this is ,9 out of 10 the more experienced player gets the nod. If Harvey is as good as everyone thinks he is his opportunity will come, someone will lose form or get injured, he must put his head down and keep his standards up in the seconds. Pro sport is tough tough tough.