Saturday, 26 August 2017

Weekend roundup - why Barnett must stay and county sign Podmore

Early morning on a Saturday and a chance to catch up on all things Derbyshire cricket, after the hectic start to the week that was the T20 quarter final.

I read a piece online earlier in the week, which said how Billy Godleman hopes that Kim Barnett will extend his role of Director of Cricket past September. With five county championship games to go, I hope that the club moves quickly to sort this, for everyone's sake.

Irrespective of a disappointing four-day summer, this has been one of the more encouraging in recent history. We played some excellent cricket in both of the one-day competitions and have looked a side slowly moving in the right direction.

Part of this, of course, has been down to improved recruitment, which can be laid squarely at the door of Barnett. There were a number of new players over the winter and each has contributed positively this summer.

Gary Wilson has added belligerence to the county middle order and generally skippered the side well in T20, while Daryn Smit has proved an outstanding wicket-keeper, even if short of runs by our expectations. Luis Reece has made an excellent fist of both forms of the game and both leg-spin recruits, Jeevan Mendis and Imran Tahir, have made positive contributions.

Even the ones brought in on trial or loan, Conor McKerr and Gurjit Sandhu, have done well. Indeed, the only one that was not Barnett's decision, Matt Henry, is the one where there would be debate.

Each will, assuming they are here next summer, want to kick on, but the portents are good. As was the case in his playing days, Barnett can spot a player and his mentoring of Godleman the captain will have been less obvious but equally valuable.

For a county that won silverware in 2012, we have changed direction too often for comfort since. A third administration in five years is too many and to move now to a fourth would be counter-productive, or crazy as it might be better put. Each new 'broom' wants to put their own stamp on things and justify the role and in my opinion, we need tweaking, not wholesale change now.

Barnett has put in place a new way of working, giving the players greater responsibility. Similarly, he has set up a coaching system, with Mal Loye at its head, that now needs time to bear fruit. The advent of Hamidullah Qadri is the first of these, but there is exciting, precocious talent among that age group, not yet ready for the first team, but not too far away and with good people overseeing their development. They will, I suspect, be better-equipped for the first-class game from being picked out early and coached properly, with greater emphasis on the challenges they will face as they move towards the professional game. Mentoring plays a big part in this and Barnett's recruits have been well chosen from that perspective, good professionals as well as good players.

As much as we need improved performances in these closing fixtures to send us into the winter in good heart, we also need an indication that Barnett will stay, giving the club the stability it so badly needs to thrive.

Yesterday came news of another recruit, Middlesex's Harry Podmore, on an 'initial' 28-day loan. The key word is in parentheses for me, as one assumes it is a chance for each party to look at the other and, if it goes to plan, make it official at the end of the summer. The tall seamer has been on loan to Glamorgan and Durham in 2017 and is at a stage of his career where first-class cricket is essential.

23-years old, he gets in close to the stumps and seems of similar pace to Mike Hendrick in his pomp. A first-class record of the mid-twenties for his wickets is good in a young bowler and he has a chance to build on that and impress a potential new employer in the final month of the season.

It is, I suspect, where the focus of our winter recruitment lies. While there are a number of talented young seamers in the club, I suspect that two or three will not make it at this level. While the next generation come through, we need better players to make us competitive in all formats next year.

My gut feeling is that South Africa may well be a hunting ground. While resources are limited, perhaps there is greater merit in bringing in a talented Kolpak for the summer in all formats, than a T20 specialist who may or may not succeed when finances are tight. In an ideal world you would have both, but we need to be realistic.

As it stands at present, our seam attack for 2018 is based around two talented bowlers who have been rarely fit in 2017, an aging war horse who will be 35 next year, an all-rounder with a question mark on his future and a clutch of young bowlers who may, or may not make it.

I don't think that anyone would predict success on those grounds, so something quite obviously needs to be done

Just need a few more concerts at the 3aaa County Ground and a successful Christmas period in the hospitality areas. Maybe a monthly summer concert at Derby and playing more at Chesterfield might make a lot of people happy...

I'll be back soon with news of the squad for the Durham game.


Anonymous said...

It will be 27 years this weekend that Derbyshire lifted the Sunday league title in front of a home crowd which was estimated between 7 and 10 thousand, supporters in those days really thought the team was going somewhere compare that with today a quarter final is considered a major achievement how times have changed

Snapper said...

Whilst I welcome any effort to strengthen the side, especially in the bowling department, I wonder why we need another seam bowler, when on the payroll we already have, Viljeon, Davis, Cotton, Palladio, Taylor, Cork not to mention Thakor, Reece and Hughes. It looks to me as at least three of them could be on their way out at the end of the season!

Peakfan said...

You forgot Milnes, Snapper...Reece and Hughes are more occasional bowlers in 4 day cricket. We do need to shake things up a little, unless prepared to wait indefinitely for progress....

Snapper said...

Yes indeed I did forget Milnes but could possibly forgiven for that. Reece and Hughes should be quite capable of filling the fifth or even fourth seamer role if you could rely on the others

Dave said...

Sandburg and Rob Hemmings have been omitted from this list of under achieving pace bowlers . We certainly have quantity but very little quality.

Peakfan said...

Sandhu Dave, and yes Rob Hemmings is another who has struggled for opportunity

Paul Fitzpatrick said...

Sometimes best to look at facts , in line with Dave's quality comment
First Class Summary
Palladino 34yrs. 384 wk @ 29
Taylor 22yrs 64wk @36
Thakor 23yrs 57wk@43
Milnes 24yrs 47wk@42
Cotton 24yrs 37wk@44
Davis 21yrs 37wk@27
Hughes 25yrs 22wk@55
Reece 27yrs 21wk@43
Hemming 22yrs no data
Cork 23yrs no data
If we remove Palladino (career twilight) and factor in Davis/Taylor injury records then we will continue to struggle to take 20 wickets
I haven't included Viljoen because he hasn't played
A lot of work to do in terms of squad planning , recruitment etc
Bags packed , Durham here I come
I suspect Podmore will be playing !!!!

Tim, Chesterfield said...

Sandhu looked OK to me. Why sign him, play him once and then forget him?

notoveryet said...

We can also add in Gleadall, taking it to the 9 contracted quick bowlers I mentioned the other day, plus the 3 all-rounders - plus Sandhu, who isn't actually on a contract. He did well against Durham, batting and bowling, and took 5 wickets for the second team last week, so it'll be a bit of a surprise if he's not picked again.

If the intention of bringing Podmore in on loan is for him to play in the remaining matches, it's a real indictment on the quality of the pace bowling at our disposal if we need to supplement it with a player who is younger and less experienced than many of them, and from his figures, didn't have a great loan spell with Glamorgan earlier in the season. If you assume that Davis isn't considered match fit yet, I'd expect to see Viljoen, Palladino and Sandhu play, so there'd be room for one other quick bowler, who would also need to be able to bat with Tahir also playing. I'm not aware that Podmore is much of a batsman, so Taylor looks the more likely to me to play - he was poor against Notts but generally seems to me to have been the only one of the bowlers who has been improving.

As far as changes to the squad are concerned, there isn't a great deal of scope. of the bowlers, only Milnes and Cork are out of contract this year, so unless someone else is leaving voluntarily (or being poached by the voracious King of Spain) there isn't a great deal of scope for recruitment for next year. It's hard to think of a solid argument for retaining Milnes and Cork, although their inclusion in the T20 squad (and Milnes regularly captaining the second XI) suggests that they are valued as characters at least.

As to Barnett's future, I don't think he said he only wanted to do the job for a year, but that he thought it would only be needed for a year. I think he underestimated the scale of the job, and the time it would take to develop and embed a new culture and environment and improve the quality of the playing squad, and even if its job description and terms of reference change now, I think it's important for him to stay on.

Ash said...

From what I can see Milnes, Cork and Hemmings will be gone at end of season, that leaves HV, Davis, (an ageing) Dino, (possibly if he does well) Podmore, Taylor, Hughes, Reece and Thakor (depending on what happens) and then theres the group of youngsters to push on. Obviously Cotton is still on the books but I dont see him playing in the CC