Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Gary Wilson appointed T20 skipper
I'd mentally pinned it down to either Gary or Alex Hughes, who did a sterling job last summer with limited opportunities. My own preference would be to see Alex made vice-captain, where his enthusiasm, commitment and cricket brain will be a good asset. This competition is his forte and I can see him as a future county skipper, but he now has an excellent learning opportunity.
Gary Wilson has proved a great success since his move from Surrey last winter. He is articulate, affable and intelligent, playing his cricket in an aggressive and bullish manner that bodes well. Having skippered Surrey to a semi-final in his time there, and having played the game at international standard, he knows the way to success.
I don't think he will keep wicket, as that would be asking a lot of him. Besides, in Daryn Smit we have an excellent keeper who has crucially kept to Imran Tahir on many occasions and can doubtless read his many variations. It is, however, an option, if the balance of the side needs tweaked.
I strongly feel, however, that the route to our improved fortunes lies in two things.
The first is luck with injuries and fitness. If we can field an attack of Imran Tahir, Matt Henry, Hardus Viljoen and maybe Will Davis, along with a combo of Shiv Thakor, Matt Critchley and Ben Cotton, we should win some matches. Yet if a couple of the first four names are injured we are back to square one.
The second is in thinking outside of the box in the batting. Gary apparently mentioned yesterday a line up that included Billy Godleman, and I don't think this is his competition. I have complete respect for Billy as a cricketer, captain and man, but like some other very good cricketers - Chris Rogers, Simon Katich and, in his earlier years, Usman Khawaja among them - he has struggled in this format.
I could easily name eight of a first choice T20 side, assuming fitness, but the other three names will make the difference in winning more games and escaping the group.
I'd have Matt Critchley as one, a bowler who did well last year and proved in the RLODC that he can hit a long ball, then either Luis Reece or Tom Wood to open.
And I can't get away from the need for someone else to bat with them, take advantage of the Power play and give us a good chance of a start. Unless, throwing in a curve ball, we try Alex or Matt Critchley at the top as a pinch hitter. Until last year, when time caught up with him, Wes Durston did that job so well and could bowl a few overs too.
A pipe dream maybe, but without it, even with Wright's nous and Wilson's captaincy, I expect us to challenge for top four, but ultimately just miss out on the knock out stage in what is always a strong group.
Wood/Reece (or Wood and Reece)