Thursday, 10 August 2017

Derbyshire v West Indies

There was a time, back in the day, when the tourists match against your county was special. A chance to see names that you had only previously read about in newspapers, to watch them bat and bowl and maybe get close enough for an autograph or two.

Nowadays, most of those players are on Sky TV all the time and the thrill isn't quite the same. Added to that, most counties field second elevens, using the game as an opportunity to see who might, just might have what it takes at senior level.

While the West Indies of today are a pale shadow of the great teams of yesteryear, the game that starts tomorrow offers a chance to see a few players who are less well known and who can use this tour as a springboard for something special.

It is now unusual for West Indian players to be signed as overseas professionals. The bigger names can earn so much as T20 'guns for hire' that they don't need the county grind. Most don't even play full T20 stints here, so the Caribbean players are less well-known than most. The rest simply don't get the opportunity to hone their techniques on different wickets and the search for the next Richards, Lara and Chanderpaul goes on.

So the next three days offers dual possibilities for Derbyshire. We might see one or two of a very young side make a statement, while there might be someone among the tourists who catches the eye as an option for another summer.

Academy seamer James Taylor makes his debut, while off spinner Matt Sonczak does the same, the youngest members of an inexperienced side, led by Tony Palladino. With Harvey Hosein behind the stumps, the side is:

Ben Slater
Charlie Macdonell
Tom Wood
Callum Brodrick
Harvey Hosein
Tom Milnes
Greg Cork
Tom Taylor
James Taylor
Matt Sonczak
Tony Palladino

It is a big game for several players whose contracts are either up this year or were for this summer only; an opportunity to earn a deal for others.

I look forward to following the game and seeing who impresses - and look forward to the comments of those who manage along for the game.

And the rest of you, of course.

Postscript - unaware of the impressive fist we would make of the T20 this summer, I booked a week away with Mrs P, our daughter and Wallace for next week, when we will once again enjoy the scenic splendours of Berwick-on-Tweed and the Northumberland coast.

I will be back home for the Friday evening game, which may well be crucial, but may or may not have time to blog on the two matches earlier in the week.

I'd love to hear from anyone who would like to do a preview, or a post-match analysis, which I would be happy to post.

More than happy to comment as I can, but this one is for my wife, for reasons that will be obvious to all regular readers.

See you tomorrow.

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